Columbus Crew SC coughed up two goals to turn three points into zero as they fell to the Colorado Rapids 2-1.
The result may not have been surprising given the first half. The Rapids deployed a press that stymied the initial Crew SC attacks. The visitors struggled to connect passes and the game bogged down in the midfield.
The Rapids would pull back into their usual defensive shell and then deploy Dominique Badji’s speed to test the Crew SC backline. They found several great chances as Nico Naess, Josh Williams, and Alex Crognale struggled with the pace. Zack Steffen would have to make five saves between the 30th and 38th minute. The young keeper would keep the game scoreless until halftime.
Both sides slowed down in the second half. Crew SC visibly struggled with fatigue as passes went wide and movement slowed. The Rapids pulled back into their usual defensive shell and the game shaped up as a stalemate
Crew SC grabbed the lead in the 61st minute as Justin Meram dribbled into the final third and found Higuain. After cutting back, Higuain uncorked a long shot that was clipped on the way towards goal by Michael Azira. Zack MacMath was stranded as the ball drifted into the net.
The goal would awaken the Rapids as they pushed to equalize, but they struggled to really test Steffen. Crew SC would get the best chance at the next goal in the 74th minute. Meram was clipped down just outside the box. The resulting free kick was cleared off the line by Azira.
The Rapids would tie the game in the 80th minute after a long passing sequence that Mohammed Saied would send into the 18 yard box and Marlon Hairston. He would center the ball for an easy finish by Kevin Doyle.
With the momentum of the first goal, the Rapids then take the lead just six minutes later against an exhausted Crew SC defense. Hairston again got the ball wide on the right in the box, but his cross went well over. Substitute Josh Gatt lofted a ball under slight pressure from Harrison Afful across the box. Alan Gordon lost Jonathan Mensah and nodded the ball of the post and in.
14 - The number of the purest and true hearts in the Colorado Rapids team.
When it was over:
The Rapids grabbed an 86th minute winner and Columbus had already looked too exhausted after their last best chance in the 7th minute. The Rapids finished off a spent Crew SC team to record their third straight win.
Columbus fell to 7-8-1 and 22 points. Crew SC now have two weeks until the next league match as they visit the Atlanta United on June 17th. They do face FC Cincinnati in U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, June 14th.