Colorado extended their winless streak to four games and D.C. United earned their second victory at newly-constructed Audi Field on a warm Saturday night in the nation’s capitol.
Late game heroics were required by the Black-and-Red to see off the Rapids, who have yet to taste victory since their 1-0 road win against Vancouver on July 1.
The night started with several curious lineup choices by Colorado Manager Anthony Hudson. The Rapids utilized the 4-4-2-Diamond in their third consecutive match following regulation draws against Real Salt Lake and Boca Juniors. Kortne Ford made the start at right back, Danny Wilson occupied the defensive midfielder role at the base of the diamond, and – perhaps the most head-scratching decision of them all – Jack Price played under strikers Sam Nicholson and Giles Barnes.
Few chances were created in the first half for either side, as the Rapids pressed heavily and limited D.C.’s passing options in a crowded midfield. At the start, the press paid off in the same way it had in Salt Lake. Colorado was awarded a questionable penalty in the twenty-fifth minute by newly-minted MLS referee Ramy Touchan. Kellyn Acosta took the kick, sending a low-driven shot right to David Ousted’s left post, bouncing wide of the target.
Seven minutes later, Luciano Acosta split Colorado’s defense with a beautiful pass to Wayne Rooney in the final third, Tommy Smith whiffed on a tackle, and Rooney slotted home his first goal for D.C. United through former teammate Tim Howard’s legs.
The second half featured a bit more action from both sides. Ten minutes after the break, D.C. United enjoyed a pair of chances that were denied by the woodwork. A long-range effort from the Black-and-Red deflected off the crossbar and Howard managed to save a close-range shot by Rooney that ricocheted off the post before being cleared.
Over the course of the next twenty-five minutes, Kellyn Acosta seemed desperate to make up for his penalty miss in the first half, producing three impressive chances. First, ten yards from goal, the new signing created an opportunity out of thin air that went into the side netting. Then, the midfielder would have a long-range effort at the top of D.C.’s box that went inches wide of the frame. Finally, as if an answered prayer, Acosta received a fantastic pass from Jack McBean and placed a beautifully-chipped ball over David Ousted and into the upper-right corner of D.C.’s net.
The lead would not last for long, as the ninetieth minute spelled disaster for Colorado. Following a pair of substitutes for D.C., Ulises Segura sent a cross into Colorado’s box that deflected off of Niki Jackson and beat Howard to the near post. Through over seven minutes minutes of stoppage time, D.C. held the Rapids to minimal attacking opportunities and Colorado left Washington without so much as a point.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy are next on the docket for the Rapids, who return to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on August 4.
Image Credit: @DCUnited