The Colorado Rapids earned their second-straight home win on Saturday night, dispatching the visiting San Jose Earthquakes, 2-1. Despite several early chances from the visitors, Colorado took a 1-0 first half lead on a 44th minute strike from Kellyn Acosta. San Jose equalized in the second half with a strike from Vako in the 62nd minute. But Diego Rubio sealed the win for the Rapids with a goal 12 minutes later.
Here are three takeaways from Colorado’s 2-1 win over San Jose:
Rubio as good as gold
The acquisition of forward Diego Rubio was touted in the preseason as one of Colorado’s best offseason moves and now it’s starting to pay dividends.
When graded alongside the other players involved in the move which brought Rubio to Colorado, Kelyn Rowe no longer plays for Kansas City (having moved to RSL at the summer transfer deadline) while Edgar Castillo is facing a downturn year in New England.
While slow out of the gate, Rubio is now a hot hand in the offense for Rapids interim head coach Conor Casey, having scored a goal in three-straight games and six in the Rapids’ past eight fixtures.
“I just try to be close to the goal,” Rubio explained, regarding his recent run of form. “Some people say once you score one, they keep coming. But it’s just working hard. It’s about the hard work of the team, it’s not just me.”
He received a bit of help in the first half with San Jose hitting the post and missing a few sitters in the first half, but it was an otherwise solid performance in net for Rapids backup keeper Clint Irwin, who filled in for Tim Howard (calf) for the fourth game in a row.
“He’s come in and done great,” said Rapids defender Danny Wilson. “He’s come in and made key saves at important times and he always talks well. He’s a good goalkeeper so we know that when we’re without Tim, we have a trustworthy guy behind us.”
Saturday’s result marked the first home start for Irwin for Colorado since his previous stint with the Rapids in 2015, and his first home win playing between the sticks for the side since August of the same year.
Compared to their previous meeting with San Jose just two weeks ago, the Rapids made the proper adjustments including improved play on the wings.
Keegan Rosenberry, who was exposed in the prior meeting, bounced back with solid play on the wings, both defensively and in the attack.
“I thought both sides were very good [on the wings],” explained Rapids interim head coach Conor Casey. “Part of it was individual defending but also putting more pressure on [San Jose’s] center backs and sixes so they didn’t have as much time to pick people out.”
In addition to assisting Rubio’s game winner, Rosenberry was solid defensively with two interceptions and two recoveries to go along with a clearance inside the box and a crucial late game tackle to preserve the lead in the 82nd minute.