The Colorado Rapids hosted a tired Sporting Kansas City side that entered the match on short rest Sunday night. After a dogged and goalless first half, former SKC forward Diego Rubio broke the deadlock with his goal in the 54th minute to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. But a late sending off for Rapids midfielder Johan Blomberg opened the door for the visitors and Johnny Russell’s strike on a free kick in the 88th minute salvaged a point for SKC in a 1-1 draw at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Here are three takeaways from Colorado’s 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City:
Dillon’s defensive deftness
A natural midfielder by trade, Dillon Serna has been oft-played at wingback under Anthony Hudson, but last season was filled with mix results as the Rapids Homegrown was one of many failed experiments at right back.
With the experience of Keegan Rosenberry now filling that role, the questions shifted to what Colorado would do at left back entering the season. Now playing in that role, Serna has answered most of those questions, filling in admirably despite the team’s defensive injury crisis at centerback.
Defensively, Serna pitched in three tackles, four recoveries and three clearances – two of which were inside the 18-yard box. He also managed a shot across the face of goal in the 68th minute. It was an all-encompassing effort that garnered praise from Rapids head coach Anthony Hudson
“I thought Dillon Serna at left back was absolutely outstanding,” Hudson said postgame.
Seven minutes of hell for Johan Blomberg
Signed on to Colorado before last season, Johan Blomberg has failed to carve out a role or make a large impact since his arrival, which has surely been frustrating for the 31-year-old Swede.
That frustration boiled over on Sunday night as Blomberg earned a yellow card shortly after his substitution in the 79th minute for unsportsmanlike conduct and was sent off with a second yellow in the 87th minute for time wasting.
In a twist of irony, Blomberg pushed a shot which was inches away from doubling Colorado’s lead shortly after his substitution. Instead, his sending off led to Colorado being down to ten men for the remainder of the match, and set the stage for Johnny Russell’s free kick equalizer.
Anthony Hudson acknowledged the frustration of the situation postgame, but would not comment on the specifics of Blomberg, having not reviewed film. Nonetheless, it’s surely a frustrating situation for Blomberg, who was playing his first meaningful minutes since October of 2018.
A tale of two Tims
Tim Howard and Tim Melia have been the goalkeeping standard bearers for their respective clubs over the past several seasons, but ultimately, it was the two Tims’ gaffs which may have made the difference in this game.
Just before the half, Tim Howard averted danger when Roger Espinoza caught him off his line and was nearly chipped for the opening goal.
With the score remaining 0-0, it would instead be Melia’s gaff which opened the scoring. Lack of communication between Melia and Matt Besler led to Diego Rubio’s 54th minute goal to instead give Colorado the early lead.
In terms of volume, it wasn’t a lights out performance from either ‘keeper, but Howard put forth a solid performance with three saves to Melia’s one.
In the end, Diego Rubio has a former teammate to thank for his first goal in Burgundy.
“The goalie made a bad touch on the ball and I took the opportunity,” he said of the goal.