Top 5 This Week

Related Posts

Controversial finish dooms Rapids to stoppage time loss to Houston Dynamo

The Colorado Rapids lost to the Houston Dynamo in controversial fashion at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park late Saturday night, with the deciding blow in a 1-0 loss coming basically at the death of a six-minute stoppage time period.

With 95 minutes and change on the clock, Rapids defender Andreas Maxsø went down in Houston’s penalty box, bloodied after being elbowed in the face.

But play went on, leading to a breakaway that saw Houston’s Sebastián Ferreira find Brad Smith, who calmly tucked it past Zack Steffen with his left foot. Smith had only been on the pitch for six minutes, having been subbed on in the 89th minute when Ibrahim Aliyu went down with an injury.

Maxsø did not exit the game, but was evaluated for a head injury following the final whistle. The club did not comment on whether he entered concussion protocol.

“In terms of Andreas, I’m told from the doctors, it’s likely a broken nose,” Rapids coach Chris Armas said. “(Maxsø) said, ‘Yeah, I got elbowed in the face.’ And he said it was deliberate. That was my conversation with him.”

Armas and multiple players were in agreement that play should have been stopped because of the head injury, citing numerous examples of stoppages in the first half for the same thing.

The referee crew, headlined by Mario Maric, did not provide comment after the match.

Armas, who is as cool-headed as a coach can be, wanted to speak to the refs for clarity on the non-call after the match concluded a few minutes after Houston scored, but he said the crew left the field too quickly.

“I’m just confused as a head coach why the play didn’t stop,” Armas said. “I don’t know the rule exactly but I’ve always thought head injuries, when it’s clear, would stop the game. … I know it’s not easy for our referees. I try to help by not making it harder on them because I know they’re doing their best.”

It was a disappointing end to the game not only because of the situation, but also because Houston’s goal came completely against the run of play as a result.

The Rapids were only able to rattle off four shots in the first half. The best opportunity in the frame was off of a corner kick, which ended with a give-and-go from Omir Fernandez to Djordje Mihailovic, which he steered onto goal from an angle, but wasn’t able to get any pace on it.

The best chance of the second half for Colorado was in the 75th minute, when Mihailovic had a clear shot on goal from within the box, which he put directly to Houston goalkeeper Steve Clark’s feet.

For most of the game, Colorado was able to control the pace and possession, keeping the ball on Houston’s end for long stretches at a time. The only thing lacking was a clear-cut finishing move to score.

Which in many ways was a continuation of the struggles the team dealt with all year last season: the build up is good, the finishing touches are not.

Mihailovic is confident, though, that they’re coming.

“I think it’s coming with time. This is the most difficult part of the game,” Mihailovic said. “That’s why the best players get the most money because they’re scoring the goals. That’s the most difficult part. And now this is just the final step to get us over that hump. And I think when that happens, we’re going to be among the elite in the West.”

If anything, Armas and the team will look at this game as an opportunity to build on the work already done.

“We really pride ourselves in working hard, sticking together and pulling in the right direction,” Armas said. “That frustration can come and it can be demoralizing at times. So I think we get back to work, we look at things that we did really well, we look at ways to improve and we definitely don’t make excuses.”

Want more sports news? Sign up for the Sports Omelette to get all our analysis on Denver’s teams.

Popular Articles