COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – For the third-straight week, weather delays adversely affected a Colorado Rapids home game. When it rained, it poured for the Rapids, as an early sending off of homegrown Sebastian Anderson hamstrung Colorado in an eventual 2-1 loss to New York City FC.
“I thought it was a brave and great performance from our team,” said Rapids interim head coach Conor Casey. “We came in with a great mentality, we were missing some guys today: Kei [Kamara], Kellyn [Acosta], Tim [Howard] went down with an injury. We had a red card early and obviously the game changes. We battled through adversity on the night.”
Colorado struck early with midfielder Jonathan Lewis making a line breaking run down the left side of the NYCFC defense, crossing to a sliding Anderson to give the Rapids a 1-0 lead in the 6th minute. It marked the first professional goal for the rookie, who at 16 years old became the youngest Colorado Rapids player to score in league play.
“It was very important to get three points, but we can’t play in that way,” said NYCFC head Dome Torrent. “We have to be clinical in the 18-yard box because we had a lot of opportunities.”
By the end of the match, NYCFC (8-3-8, 32 points) dominated with 29 shots compared to eight for Colorado.
NYCFC’s best chance of the first half came in the 27th minute, as Valentin Castellanos put a low shot towards the bottom corner of Colorado’s net, but Howard came up big to parry the effort away.
It wouldn’t all be celebration for Anderson, who would be sent off later in the first half for studs-up tackle on Ronald Matarrita.
“He’s unlucky on the red card, it was a rash call,” Casey said. “A 16-year old scoring the opening goal minutes into the game is pretty impressive.”
The sending off revitalized the NYCFC attack and the visitors equalized on a goal in the 40th minute by Héber. The Brazilian collected a lofted ball from Maxi Moralez to score the easy goal and level the match at 1-1 against the 10-man Rapids.
Jul 20, 2019; Commerce City, CO, USA; General view of weather alert warning before the match between New York City FC against the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Shortly after, Colorado’s problems continued as Howard left the match with a strained right calf, replaced by Clint Irwin in first-half stoppage time.
“We’ll have to monitor him for the next couple of days and see where he’s at,” Casey said of the injury.
In the opening stanza, NYCFC dominated with nearly 77 percent of the possession while outshooting Colorado (5-11-5, 20 points), 12-1.
New York City continued to pepper Colorado’s net with shots into the second half as Irwin made five second half saves.
It appeared the Rapids would catch a break in the 78th minute as Sam Nicholson broke away for what appeared to be the go-ahead goal, but it was called offside.
Instead, NYCFC broke the stalemate, taking a 2-1 lead on Alexandru Mitrita’s strike in the 83rd minute.
For Colorado, controversy continued into the dying minutes of the game as Nicholson appeared to continue to take continuous contact from New York City defenders.
“Given the enormous discrepancies in calls, the fact that we were able to battle away until the end is what makes me extremely proud of the players,” said Casey. “I’m speechless. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The Rapids didn’t get any help from referee Christopher Penso, failing to find an equalizer of their own as New York City snapped a two-game losing streak.
“I’m happy,” said Torrent. “I’m happy to win the game and that’s what we did tonight.”
New York City will return to Yankee Stadium Friday to host Sporting Kansas City, while Colorado heads to Avaya Stadium to face the surging San Jose Earthquakes.