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Three things we learned from Colorado’s 2-1 loss to New York Red Bulls

May 12, 2018; Commerce City, CO, USA; New York Red Bulls midfielder Florian Valot (22) shoots on goal in the first half against the Colorado Rapids of the match at Dick's Sporting Goods Park Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rapids fell behind 1-0 early to New York Red Bulls after Daniel Royer’s 5th minute goal, but controlled the game’s possession after conceding. A controversial goal credited to Derrick Etienne put Colorado behind 2-0 in the 76th minute. Despite further spurts of attacking play from Colorado, including Jack McBean’s 85th minute tally, the Rapids were unable to come back, losing 2-1 and extending their current losing streak to four straight.

Here are three things we learned from Colorado’s loss to New York Red Bulls:

Right back still an issue

Last week Kip Colvey’s performance – which included an errant dribble out of bounds with no pressure – led to his eventual substitution against Kansas City and failure to make the lineup against New York. But Colorado didn’t get much better Saturday from converted midfielder Bismarck “Nana” Adjei-Boateng, who was one of the parties at fault on the opening goal from the Red Bulls.

With both Colvey and Boateng having received fair shots at the position, perhaps it’s time for Rapids head coach Anthony Hudson to explore Dillon Serna as Colorado looks for answers at right back in the absence of injured Marlon Hairston (knee).

Referees again influence game

Controversy reared its ugly head again in the loss to New York, as the Red Bulls’ second goal – originally ruled offside – was later overturned by VAR.

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The Red Bulls appeared to be offside in the replay, and Hudson expressed his displeasure postgame with both the call and the lack of clear explanation from referee Ismail Elfath and his crew.

“I can’t understand why that’s been changed when it’s clearly offside,” Hudson said.

Another controversial moment came late as Colorado searched for an equalizer. Rapids centerback Tommy Smith was taken down in New York’s penalty area, but received no call. It was another sticking point for Hudson.

“Disappointed, obviously, with the result and I think on top of that I’m disappointed— this is not the first time I’ve felt this – but I think we’ve been undone tonight by two really, really disappointing decisions with the referee and It’s cost us points… cost us points tonight,” Hudson said.

Injuries and controversial calls have plagued the Rapids during this four-game losing streak, but the best teams find ways to overcome these factors.

Offense good. Defense not so good.

Lost in the Rapids’ recent losing streak is the fact that they’ve scored in every game but two – the 3-0 shutout at Salt Lake a month ago and the 1-0 shutout at Kansas City last week. Even in those matches, the Rapids still had opportunities to come home with points.

“I don’t know too many teams that have been on a run like this but have been in every game,” said Hudson. “Normally teams get hammered on a run like this. I have so much belief in what we’re doing and where the team is headed”

Defensively, there’s plenty of room for improvement. Conceding in the second half has been an overarching theme throughout the season. Colorado’s goals against is still top four in the Western Conference and sixth-best in goal differential, however.

If the Rapids tighten up in the back, particularly in the second half, becoming a playoff contender may not be out of reach.

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