On another weather delayed night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, New York City FC traveled to the play the Colorado Rapids.
Colorado took an early lead in the match on a 6th-minute goal from homegrown Sebastian Anderson, but the 16-year-old was sent off on a straight red card in the 33rd minute for a challenge on Ronald Matarrita. It only took seven minutes for NYCFC to equalize with Herber’s goal. NYCFC eventually took home all three points with an 83rd-minute strike from Alexandru Mitrita.
Here are three takeaways from the Colorado Rapids’ 2-1 loss to NYCFC:
Seb Anderson’s Day Out
The inclusion of the 16-year-old homegrown in the Rapids starting XI as a right winger was a headscratcher for fans, but it’s a position where Anderson has played and excelled at in the development academy and while training with the first team.
It was also a strong showing of faith from Rapids’ interim head coach Conor Casey, who by all accounts has expressed not just faith in the team’s homegrowns but a desire to give those players valuable minutes.
Anderson rewarded the decision early with his goal, becoming the youngest Rapids player to ever score in MLS. But his red card, however controversial it may have been in the eyes of some, hindered the team the rest of the way.
“He was unlucky on the red card,” Casey said. “It was a rash, quick call on a 16-year-old that nicked a player. Obviously the goal, is great for him.”
Head referee Chris Penso defended his call in an answer to the pool reporter, saying, “Anderson committed a tackle that endangered the safety of his opponent, using a straight leg and coming over the top of the ball, with his studs making contact above the opponent’s ankle.”
But the red card wasn’t the only call Casey disagreed with.
“Their second goal, offsides on the play, which it was,” Casey said. “That’s also not called. Given the fact of the enormous discrepancies in calls, the fact that we continued to battle away, I’m extremely proud of the players.”
Later in the match, Rapids winger Sam Nicholson took what appeared to be heavy contact from NYCFC’s Sebastien Ibeagha at the edge of the box, but no foul was called.
“The amount of contact was not deemed to be a foul consistent with other decisions throughout the match,” Penso said of the decision.
Responded Casey, “I’m speechless. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
One big positive Rapids fans can take away from this match was the overall performance of Clint Irwin. The onetime Rapids No. 1 goalkeeper looked the part in relief of Tim Howard, who had subbed off injured in first half extra time on what the club announced as a strained right calf.
Irwin kept the 10-man Rapids in the game for a good portion of the match, making five saves in the second half while facing 17 shots.
“That first 10 minutes felt like 35,” Irwin told reporters postmatch. “It was easy to get into the game.”
Casey wouldn’t provide details when asked about Howard’s injury after the match, but even the lowest grade calf strains can take a minimum of a week’s recovery time, so it can be reasonable to expect Irwin to start when the team travels to San Jose next weekend.