Colorado surprised the home fans with two early goals in the opener at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Both starting forwards, Dominique Badji and newcomer Joe Mason, got behind the Sporting Kansas City defense and opened their 2018 accounts for the big lead after just 10 minutes.
However, for the second match in a row Colorado allowed a second half stoppage-time goal in dropping points to begin 2018. “It’s a tough one to take,” defender Tommy Smith told The Voice of C38. “We’re all extremely frustrated and angry in dropping two points from being 2-nil up.”
Hanging onto that lead was tenuous at times, but looked to be attainable going into the second half. However, Head Coach Anthony Hudson admitted that early lead may have been a bit too much too soon. “The biggest thing to me was the great start was almost our problem. As soon as we went 2-nil up, we just then invited pressure on us. It was almost too good a start for us and it just changed the approach in terms of the mentality.”
The Rapids had opportunities to extend their early lead and put SKC away for good as Enzo Martinez made a good run in front of the 6yd box but couldn’t find a clear shot through legs. “Unfortunately, a couple of lapses-and to be fair Tim’s (Howard) pulled off a few good saves as well so it could’ve been worse-but we had a couple of half chances to go 3-nil up in the first half, which if we take it’s almost game over,” noted Smith on Colorado’s first half dominance.
Sporting Head Coach Peter Vermes looked to have made the right adjustments in their attack at halftime, while the Rapids came out a bit less confident from the run of early second half action. ”(Vermes) would have identified things they weren’t doing in the first half and changed a few things and they got a little more joy from that. We know they’ve created a lot of chances in the games they’ve played so far. We knew they’d have good possession and it was down to us to stop them from getting any chances,” Smith noted bluntly.
“But, sometimes you’ve got to just hold your hand up and say they had some good play. From our point of view we always think goals can be avoided so will be looking at ways we can stop that from happening again.”
Hudson was plenty optimistic even after the great start yielded just the one point on the night, but admitted this Rapids side is still a work in progress given the magnitude of their off-season overhaul. “If we win the game 2-nil, we’re still going to come in and there’s definitely things we need to work on.” He insists fans have not seen the best of this team yet and once players like Mason, Stefan Aigner, and Shkelzen Gashi are more established alongside teammates, there will be even more improvement shown on the pitch.