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Three Takeaways from the Colorado Rapids 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire

Colorado Rapids head coach Anthony Hudson on the bench in the first half of the match against the Chicago Fire at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

A first half goal from Rapids striker Dominique Badji (7’) and a headed goal from Tommy Smith (15’) gave Colorado an early 2-0 lead, but the visiting Chicago Fire and midfielder Aleksandar Katai responded to score two goals in quick succession to tie the match at 2-2. Despite second half efforts from both sides, Colorado and Chicago both walked away with a point in a 2-2 draw at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Here are three takeaways from the Colorado Rapids’ 2-2 draw with Chicago:

They are who we thought they were

Colorado got off the snide a bit by ending the losing streak at eight games, or as Rapids head coach Anthony Hudson said numerous times during his postgame press conference, “We stopped the bleeding”.

But despite a more positive effort and response, Colorado still displayed some of the same issues and identity fans have seen all season.

Dominique Badji continues to be the team’s lone threat offensively – which could prove dire for the team’s offense if he’s absent from the lineup like he was last week against Houston.

Defensively, Colorado displayed an issue the team has had all season: the inability to hold a lead. It cost the team from taking all three points after going 2-0 in the first half, which was déjà vu for those who’d witnessed a similar collapse against Sporting Kansas City.

The Rapids may have ended the losing streak – but still need to manage a win in the next four games to avoid matching a club record winless streak (14). Yet despite all that is plaguing the team – the lineup of opponents in Minnesota United, Vancouver, Seattle and Montreal presents a prime opportunity to grab a win.

Tommy Smith finally gets on the scoresheet

The Rapids centerback had been working hard all season to score on a header off a set piece and on Wednesday night, the New Zealand international delivered with a header in the 15th minute.

“Yeah, we do a lot of work on the set piece and I’m just glad it’s come off for now and we’ve been close a lot of times,” Smith said of his goal. “Good finish in the end. Great ball from (Jack) Pricey and like you said it was a good start to the game.”

The goal marked the first for Smith in a Rapids uniform and his first in MLS. He wasn’t without opportunity, however, with 13 shots (four on-target) prior to scoring.

Smith’s header (along with his assist on Badji’s opening goal) was also important because it adds a different dynamic to Colorado’s attack, which has largely consisted of the one-man Dominique Badji Show.

Team goals have changed from playoffs to baby steps

Shortly after being hired by the Colorado Rapids, Anthony Hudson penned an open letter to fans as his introduction to the club’s fan base. In that letter, he outlined his intended goals for the team.

Per Hudson:

  • Our goal is to be a perennial playoff team.
  • Our goal is to bring another MLS Cup home to Colorado.

Six months later, those goals have changed and apologies have been issued to fans.

 “I think the first goal was to stop the run,” Hudson said on Wednesday. “Anything is possible because we’ve seen teams go on good runs and bad runs. We’re seeing that now with some very good teams going on bad runs: 5-6 games without a win. What we are is a team that’s very much in transition. We have to get our squad and our team settled and keep improving.

“If we can just keep improving the team, that’s the first goal,” he continued. “Beyond that, if we can put a run together, then we can look at that again and give ourselves belief. Anything is possible but we’re not looking at that now. I don’t it’s right for me to sit here after this run and say: playoffs. We need to improve the team, we need stability, we need to use the [transfer] window well. We need to keep improving.”

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