There wasn't a ton of excitement at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in the opening half, but the Colorado Rapids made the most of the second stanza to give Pablo Mastroeni's side a share of the Western Conference lead.
Second-half substitute Marlon Hairston providedthe Rapids with a 1-0 win over Sporting KC on Saturday night, after scoring his first goal of the 2016 season.
The Colorado Rapids seemed dead in the water after a late penalty kick gave the Vancouver Whitecaps a lead, but Axel Sjoberg had his say deep into second-half stoppage time.
The Rapidspulled out a 2-2 tie against the Whitecapsat BC PlacefollowingSjoberg's 95th minute equalizer. Kevin Doyle, who got the Rapids on the board earlier in the second half, played provider with time winding down.
The old NFL saying goes: defense wins championships. Based on the play out of the Colorado Rapids and their backline over the first half of the MLS season, that statement isn't too far-fetched.
Very few expected Pablo Mastroeni's side to be in their current position with the 2016 season hitting the halfway point, however, the Rapids have utilized intelligent offseason moves and built around the team's strong defensive unit.
While one MLS star was named to Ireland's squad ahead of Euro 2016, a Designated Player could be on his way out with the Chicago Fire.
The Fire are reportedly seeking to buy out Gilberto's contract. The DP has netted just five and added four assists in 19 matches for the Eastern Conference side after being claimed off waivers by the Fire in 2015.
Yesterday the Rapids tweeted that Jamaican striker Luton Shelton was training with the team. This isn't the first time the Rapids have been linked with Shelton, having him in camp at the beginning of last season. He's been bouncing back and forth from his Russian team Volga NN to Colorado apparently since that time, recovering from a serious injury.
The fourth round of the 2016 U.S. Open Cup gets underway Tuesday evening, as Major League Soccer teams come into the fray.
In Portland, the only all-MLS match of the round takes place as the Timbers host the San Jose Earthquakes. Elsewhere, the Colorado Rapids will face an in-state rival in a rematch of last year's Fourth Round matchup, while Real Salt Lake will look to end the Wilmington Hammerheads' impressive run.
What Are They All About? Philadelphia Union (Away)
The streak continues. Chicago lost yet another road match as the Fire fell 2-1 against the Colorado Rapids this past Saturday. Veljko Paunovic was visibly angry as he and his players walked off the pitch in Commerce City and his weekly conference call showed hints of deviating from the usual "everything is fine" party line.
Let's take a break from all the Copa and Euro excitement and get back to the Philadelphia Union, reviewing their last three matches.
The games came fast and furious before the league's Copa America break, and the Philadelphia Union handled the stretch without defeat. A wild 2-2 draw down against Orlando City, followed up with a dramatic finish with the best team in the league the Colorado Rapids, and then a fun 3-2 win at home against the crumbling Columbus Crew SC.
We look back at what went right and what (if anything) went wrong for the Union in May of 2016
What. A. Month.
The Philadelphia Union end May at the top of the Eastern Conference and have a seven game unbeaten streak - the second longest unbeaten streak in the Union's history. Should the Union win or draw their next game, they will tie their club record set in 2011, which coincidentally was the only year the Union have made the playoffs.
Philadelphia Union manager Jim Curtin revealed a bit in his weekly press conference pertaining to Wednesday's match with Columbus Crew SC.
In his weekly press conference, Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin shed some light on some looming questions Union fans had, such as the fitness of Joshua Yaro and Vincent Nogueira and who would be starting in place of Andre Blake.
The Union and Rapids confirmed a lot of stereotypes about American soccer in what was mostly a staid game, until suddenly it wasn't. PSP's Adam Cann offers analysis and player ratings for Saturday's 1-1 draw.
Joe Farrell scored from a free kick early and during a goal mouth scramble very late to earn Rochester a draw at home. The rookie defender has impressed this season while the Rhinos are now winless in three league games.
In 85+ degree heat on Saturday evening, the Rochester Rhinos hosted first-year team Bethlehem Steel FC.
The Union appeared destined for defeat, but Brian Carroll's stoppage time equalizer turned everything around.
Throughout much of their sordid history, the Union have found themselves in control of games approaching the final minutes only to grasp defeats and draws from the jaws of victory. Tonight, the shoe was on the other foot.
Are we sure there are 22 players available tomorrow night? The last (league) match before the end of the summer tournaments and before the summer transfer window opens is here. Well, for the half of the teams actually going to be in LA tomorrow night. Neither the Galaxy or Rapids will be at full strength for this one and it will probably show.
Break's Over After a long break (not counting the USOC match) we're back to league play tonight with the Chicago Fire in town. The Fire and Rapids were considered the favorite to battle for the wooden spoon and the Fire are living up to that prediction. Kickoff is at 7pm so the tailgate starts at 4.
A draw that felt like a loss. Shows up how far we've come in a short time. For the last couple of years most draws felt like wins. Despite that Colorado goes into the Copa break on a 9 game undefeated streak, tying a team record. They also sit on top of the league in both total points (though they could be passed by Dallas on Wednesday but we would have 2 games in hand) and points per game (it would take any team at least 3 straight wins to catch us in that stat).
The US Open Cup tournament is shaping up to be the Fire's best and only chance at hardware once again this season. Ahead of a fourth round match against Indy Eleven, who claimed the top spot in NASL's spring season with a 4-0-6 record, Chicago is facing what many fans will consider a 'must-win' game.
The groups were comprised exactly as I predicted yesterday which means we were in a pot with Dallas, Houston, and KC. Unfortunately we got (IMO) the worst possible draw. On June 28th or 29th we'll be in Dallas for the next round. The winner of that game will be on the road against the winner of Houston/KC in the quarterfinals on July 20th or 21st.
A lackadaisical Rapids side did just enough to get the win last night without expending too much energy. A late goal from Serna was enough for the home team to claim best team in Colorado rights for a second straight year. Other than the goal it was a fairly quiet night out in Commerce City.
Before the match we received some updated player news:
Castillo was recalled from and Calvert sent to Charlotte
Azira was suspended for the match due to a ed card in his last USOC match last year with Seattle (this was the trigger to Dempsey's infamous referee abuse)
Burch came up with an unspecified injury
Watts collided with Powers going for a header in training.
Tomorrow the 4th Round of the U.S. Open Cup kicks off and due to the timing the first game will actually be the Rapids hosting the Colorado Springs Switchbacks at 7pm at the Dick. This is the third year in a row the Rapids have started their USOC campaigns at home and I'm still getting used to it.
Sporting Kansas City learned their opponent for the fifth round of the US Open Cup today. Sporting was grouped into the Plains regional that US Soccer begins at this stage of the tournament with FC Dallas, the Colorado Rapids, and the Houston Dynamo, the same three teams as they were in 2015. The four teams were then paired together with Kansas City being paired with the Houston Dynamo and Dallas taking on Colorado.
The Dynamo battled in-state rivals FC Dallas in a rain soaked affair that was delayed for over 2 hours. Despite going down a goal in the first half, the club battled back in the second half to secure a point on the road thanks to strong performances by the midfield and the goalkeeper.
1) If the Dynamo were not in last place in the Western Conference this would be looked at as a positive result.
After the Chicago's Fire's woeful performance versus the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Good Park on Saturday, it was quite clear that July 9 cannot arrive fast enough. That is the first match for which new signing Michael de Leeuw will be eligible, and his goalscoring prowess is sorely needed to spark what has been primarily a moribund attack for the last-place Fire.
News today that new Everton boss Ronald Koeman wants to buy goalkeeper Tim Krul from Newcastle as a replacement for the departing 37 year-old Tim Howard, who announced in March he would be coming back over here to play for the Colorado Rapids in the MLS. That's the second time in two years the Saints [.
Steel FC visit Charlotte for a tough start to a long road trip
Road trips have been few and far between this year so far for Bethlehem Steel FC. Whoever makes the schedule at USL decided to ease the side into the league and then come down hard on them in June. Five away games against five very capable clubs.
Two big tournaments kick off over the next 8 days. Tomorrow we get the start of the Copa America Centenario here in the U.S. and then a week later Euro 2016 starts in France. Surprisingly the Rapids have 3, but only 3, players involved in these tournaments when 5 months ago we thought we'd be lucky to have one (and sadly that one, Kevin Doyle, isn't involved).