Sunday, October 30, 2016

Colorado-LA at Noon next Sunday

Its just been announced that the Rapids home leg against LA next Sunday will be a noon local kickoff.  This is a surprise because the early schedule showed an 8pm MT slot for TV which was almost certain to be the Rapids since the other hosts were Dallas and NY.  Looks like MLS got the networks to slide things around so Dallas could kickoff at 8pm CT.

Once again, we host LA at noon next Sunday, 11/6.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Rapids Face Galaxy In Western Semis Leg 1

Some love for a former Washington Huskies defensive coordinator

Its been 3 years since we've seen the playoffs and 5 since we've seen the conference semis but we're back!  Just to remind everyone the conference semis and finals are two legged affairs leading to the one game MLS Cup on Dec. 10th, hosted at the Dick if we make it.  The away goals ruels is in effect as a tiebreaker as well.  Coverage of Leg 1 starts on ESPN tomorrow at 3 with kickoff scheduled for 3:23.  Centennial 38 is having a big watch party at the Irish Rover and is picking up the first $1000 in drinks.

Player Availability:
OUT: M Dillon Serna (season ending ACL tear)

MLS has once again shown the pointlessness of the injury report by not updating it since the day before the last week of the regular season.  The Rapids game guide list Serna, Zardes, and Gerrard as "injured" but with no detail of if that means Out, Probable, or something in-between.  What I've been seeing is that Gerrard might be available but Zardes likely won't be.  Serna, obviously, will not be.

Starting XI Prediction:

I'm confident in about half this lineup.  Howard, Sjoberg, Burch, Cronin, and Gashi will start barring some unannounced injury.  The other half is a best guess.  I don't know how healthy Burling, Hairston, and Jones really are.  I think the first two are probably good enough to go and I expect Jones will come off the bench.  Because of that I think we see Doyle in the withdrawn striker/creative mid position he played inthe last couple of games with Badji in front of him.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Badji.  There's a lot of doom and gloom from some Rapids fans after seeing LA rip apart FSL on Wednesday but I think we're over-looking what the Rapids have done this season (and how bad FSL is).  The Rapids have only been beaten 6 times, equal to LA, and only by multiple goals twice (@NE and @NYCFC).  While some in the media are treating Colorado as the underdogs LA never beat us this season.  I don't think that changes tomorrow.  It will be a tough game but they're an older team and are on their 3rd game in a week+1.5 hours.  Even if we do lose if we can keep it to a 1 goal loss and score an away goal we'll still be OK.  I don't see the Rapids getting blown off the pitch tomorrow.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Conor Casey Rapids #9!

Today Denver South's Conor Casey, the best striker ever to wear a Rapids jersey, announced his retirement.  Casey started his pro career in Germany in 2000 after a year at the University of Portland.  He spent 7 seasons there before coming home (after a couple of months of being held hostage in Toronto) to play for the Rapids in May of 2007.  After a quiet first season with only 2 goals Conor lit the league on fire the next 3+ years, scoring 46 goals in 86 regular-season appearances.  The only player in MLS who scored more in that period was Landon Donovan.

Casey also scored 2 playoff goals in 2010.  His first tied the Eastern Conference semi-final series with Columbus at 2-2 in the 84th minute of the second leg.  He would go on to hit the first of the 5 PK's the Rapids would hit in winning the tiebreaker.  His second, of course, is one of the top 5 goals in Rapids history as he leveled MLS Cup at 1-1 in the first half.  He would also have an unofficial assist on the winning goal as it was his pass to Mac Kandji that let Kandji get in deep and force the own goal.  He was named MVP of MLS Cup (well, actually his twin Casey Conor got the award).

After blowing out his Achilles tendon on a grass overlay field in Seattle in 2011 he missed the rest of the season and part of the 2012 season.  At the end of that year the Rapids decided to go another direction and Casey moved to Philly, then Columbus for this past season before retirement.

Casey's 50 goals as a Rapid is a team record, 11 better than Bravo and Cummings who are tied for second.  Conor did it in 16 less games than Bravo though.  His strike rate of a goal about every 2 and third game is tied with John Spencer for best in team history.  He's 3rd in game winning goals (behind Bravo and Spencer), 2nd in multi-goal games (behind Bravo), and first in PK goals (by 1).  He's also in the top 10 for appearances as a Rapid.  From 2009-2011 his partnership with Omar Cummings (the C+C Goal Factory) was the most dynamic and exciting strike duo Colorado has ever had.

I fully expect that at a game next season we will be adding Conor Casey's name to the Gallery of Honor next to Balboa, Bravo, Henderson, Spencer, and Mastroeni.  To not do so would be ignoring one of the greatest to ever wear the jersey.

He runs as though his boots were lead
Conor, Conor!
He puts a razor to his head
Conor, Conor!
He used to play in Germany
But now he's back at DSG
Conor Casey
Rapids #9! 

Since we're talking about MLS Cup here's a brief update on the 14 players who played for the Rapids in that game:

Matt Pickens - Currently with the Tampa Bay Rowdies in (as of 2 days ago) the USL
Kosuke Kimura - Currently with Rayo OKC in the NASL, though there's a good chance the team won't make it to next season
Drew Moor - Currently in the playoffs with Toronto FC
Marvell Wynne - Currently with the San Jose Earthquakes
Anthony Wallace - Currently with the Jacksonville Armada in the NASL
Jeff Larentowicz - Will be suited up on the other sideline in Sunday's Colorado-LA playoff game
Pablo Mastroeni - Will be wearing a suit on our sideline in Sunday's Colorado-LA playoff game
Brian Mullan - A community ambassador and assistant coach for Colorado
Jamie Smith - Youth Academy Director for Trevian Soccer Club outside Chicago
Omar Cummings - Currently with FC Cincinnati in the USL
Conor Casey - See above
Julian Baudet - Last update was a while ago when he was coaching an amateur side in France
Wells Thompson - Retired and running soccer camps in North Carolina
Macoumba Kandji - Free agent after leaving his Finnish team at the beginning of 2016

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Affiliations, Transfer Rumors, and Playoff Opponent

An eclectic list of news and rumors today:

The Rapids renewed their affiliation with the USL Charlotte Independence for another season today.  This is a little bit of a surprise as it seemed like Colorado was leaning towards a relationship with the Switchbacks.  Maybe they still have different viewpoints on how the relationship might work or maybe the Rapids are just happy staying with Charlotte given Hinchey's relationship with the Independence owners.

Two interesting transfer rumors surfaced from MLS Transfers today.  They're track record is a little hit or miss so I wouldn't put much weight into these:

Axel Sjoberg:
I'm hearing Axel Sjoberg has been gaining interest from Djurgardens (his youth club) and Ostersunds FK.
I'm not sure this would be a great move for a player like Sjoberg except for him it would be going home.  I don't think a mid-tier top league team (Djurgardens) or a recently promoted team (Ostersunds) in Sweden would be a step up but you can't downplay the appeal of playing in your home country,

Dillon Powers:
Source tells me Dillon Powers has interest from Blackburn. May trial in the offseason.
As a Blackburn fan I'm not sure how I feel about this one. :D  If Jones re-signs for the Rapids or hey plan to bring in another Jones-type player its certainly time for Powers to leave.  As we've seen he doesn't really have a starting spot with Jones or that type of player here.  He was probably going to move to a Championship side last season until Reading made a managerial change.  Its the right level for him and would probably be a good move for everyone involved on this side of the pond.

Now I don't see Powers saving Blackburn from relegation so this better not be the only big move they're considering in the winter transfer window. ;)

Finally, LA beat FSL tonight 3-1 so we're headed to the StubHub Center for our first playoff game on Sunday.  Time is still to be announced.  During the season we played 0-0 and 1-1 draws in LA while beating them here 1-0.  Those results would get us through to the conference finals if we repeat them.  Its a little concerning how LA has turned on its offense tonight but that could jusst be because FSL has been a bad team for two months.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Draw Clinches 2 Seed, Undefeated Home Season

Awarding Axel Sjoberg the C38 Defensive Player of the Year

Opening lineups announced with Jones not listed on the bench

Rapids play down to the Dynamo's level in the first half

Dynamo score from an uncovered far post run

Is it halftime yet?


Meanwhile in LA

Gashi scores his first home goal

Jones subs in:

Both teams push for another goal

Meanwhile, back in LA

Rapids get the draw, the undefeated home season, the #2 seed, and home field in MLS Cup

Obviously we wanted the Shield but I think we all knew that was a lost cause after last week's loss.  The undefeated home season is nothing to sneeze at though.  Only 4 other teams have ever done that.  We also set a new record for lowest goals allowed/game at home and tied the record for total goals allowed at home (7).  Looking at those stats arguably there hasn't even been a tougher place for a visiting team to play than at DSG Park this year.

Next stop, the playoffs.  If FSL upsets LA on Wednesday we'll travel to the winner of Thursday's Seattle-KC matchup.  Otherwise we'll travel out to LA to play the Galaxy.  Regardless the game will be next Sunday, time still to be announced, most likely 5 or 7:30pm MT.

Man of the Match: Shkelzen Gashi.  Mainly for finally getting a home goal.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Still A Lot To Play For Tomorrow

Will we finish 1st, 2nd, or 3rd overall?

Last game of the regular season tomorrow and the Rapids still have a few things to play for.  Breaking it down:

1 point or better gets us a top 2 finish and clinches MLS Cup at home if we make it
1 point or better makes us the 5th team to go undefeated at home for a season
3 points and a win by LA gets us the Supporters Shield
1 goal or less allowed sets a new league record for lowest goals per game allowed at home
0 goals allowed sets a new league record for lowest total goals allowed at home (6)

Kickoff tomorrow of all 10 games is at 2pm.  The tailgate starts at 11 for this one.  The game will be on Altitude for those who can't make it.  We'll all be keeping an eye on the LA-Dallas and RBNY-Philly scores (Rapids can also clinch a top 2 finish if NY doesn't win) while watching this one.

Player Availability:
OUT: M Dillon Serna (season ending ACL tear)
QUESTIONABLE: D Bobby Burling (toe); M Marlon Hairston (leg); M Jermaine Jones (quad)

(Any player who picks up his 5 yellow in this game will be suspended for the first regular season game next year.  Suspensions due to accumulations do not transfer to the playoffs.  Suspensions due to a red card do however.)

Rumor has it both Jones and Hairston will get time tomorrow and we saw Burling last game.  Houston has 2 players out with injury.

Starting XI Prediction:

Not going to make a prediction this week.  Its really hard to tell what Pablo is going to try to accomplish this game.  I'm sure he'll go for at least the draw, clinching the 2nd spot overall and the undefeated home season but will he really push guys to get a win?  I think he wants to get some guys like Jones and Burling playing time to get them ready for the playoffs more than he's worry about the unlikely chance of getting the Shield.

Prediction: 1-0 win, goal by Gashi.  Dallas and LA get a draw and the Rapids lose the Shield on the total wins tiebreaker 17-16 (we're also losing the next two tiebreakers).  The Rapids will do enough to win but they'll try to take it easy and rest up for the playoffs.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Playoff Analysis With A Bit Of Player News

Before we get into my planned analysis of possible playoff opponents here's a bit of player news from today.  Reports are linking the Rapids with Irish striker Daryl Horgan.  He's 24 years old and has been a pro in the League of Ireland since 2010.  Seems like the Irish pipeline between the Emerald Isle and the Mile High City is getting stronger.

Now, onto the playoff analysis.  I figured going into the weekend we should take a look at who we want to play and who we might avoid.  To do that I looked at all our games against the 6 other possible Western opponents, both home and away (since both Western Conference playoff rounds we could be in are 2-legged affairs).

As things stand right now, barring an upset either this weekend (giving us the Shield) or in the wild-card round (knocking off LA) we will play the Galaxy in the Western semifinal round.  This year we beat LA 1-0 at home and tied them 0-0 and 1-1 on the road.  That would be good enough to win the playoff series.

If its not LA then it could be any of the other 4 teams.  FSL, Seattle, KC, and Portland can all finish anywhere between 4th and 7th (out of the playoffs).  Our records this season:

FSL: 1-0 win at home, 0-1 and 2-1 losses on the road.  Those results would be good enough to get us through on the away goals tiebreaker, or at least get us into an overtime at home.

Seattle: 3-1 win at home, 1-0 win on the road.  A great set of results

KC: 1-0 wins at home, 2-1 win on the road.  Due to the away goals rule, this would be our best set of results

Portland: 0-0 draw and 1-0 win at home, 1-0 loss on the road.  This would be the only set of results that could eliminate us, or at best force us into an overtime.

So we really want to face Seattle or KC, LA would be ok, FSL and Portland we'd like to avoid.

Assuming we get past the semifinal round, the Western final would most likely be against Dallas.  Results this weekend would determine which order the home and away game would go in.  Overall this year we had a 1-1 draw at home and a 1-0 win on the road, which would get us through to MLS Cup.  Not that I'm confident in a scenario when we're playing Dallas but history does favor us. :D

Should we make it as far as MLS Cup we could face any of 6 teams from the East.  There's a slight chance (if RBNY wins and we lose this weekend) that we could go to Red Bull Arena for the game, otherwise we'd play it at home.  We only played half the Eastern playoff teams at home this year, including Red Bull.  Our results:

RBNY: 2-1 win

Toronto: 1-0 win

Philly: 1-1 draw

The other 3 we played on the road, but they would come here in the case of MLS Cup:

NYCFC: 5-1 loss

Montreal: 2-2 draw

DC: 1-1 draw

If you assume that the home advantage would help us and going on the road to RBNY would hurt us then we want to avoid going to New York and we want to avoid Philly and NYCFC coming here.  We should feel pretty good about RBNY and Toronto coming here and we should like our chances getting the home advantage against Montreal and DC.

So bottom line, we'd like to see FSL, Portland, and NYCFC eliminated quickly (of course we want that every year with FSL) to avoid our biggest challenges based on our regular season results.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rapids Show They're More Interested In Cup Than Shield

The Rapids rolled out a lineup and a level of play yesterday that showed that they think the Shield is a "nice to have" achievement.  The reason for this (presumably) was to rest players for the Cup run.  Portland on the other hand was playing for their playoff lives, drew 2 PKs in the first half, converted 1, and that was enough to get the win.  Combined with Dallas' win the Rapids Shield hopes are slim at this point.

General Impressions:
  • If the Rapids don't want to focus on the Shield and rest players for the Cup run that's fine but there are two points:
    • It better work.
    • The Front Office really should have played down the Shield talk over the last couple of weeks, not played it up with things like the #ShieldHunting hashtag and such.
  • Both PK's were legit despite protests.  I assume nobody is complaining about the second.  Burling did get ball on the first but when you bring your trailing leg through the ankle of thee attacking player "getting ball" doesn't matter.
  • Nice job by Howard keeping us in the game with the PK save.
  • I'm guessing Pappa won't be back next year.  He's clearly not bought into Pablo's system.  That said, he should still have gotten more playing time this year than he did.
  • We figured out why Williams hasn't been starting, yuck.
  • Calvert looks good for his age.  He doesn't look good as a starter.
  • I understand why Le Toux and Burch were sat in this game (though given Williams level of play it might have been worth pushing Burch).  I don't understand why a 25 year old Sjoberg and 24 year old Badji were sat with the Shield on the line.
  • Next week we need to see a lineup about what we expect to see in the playoffs so everyone can get a game under their belts working together.  I don't expect Calvert and Williams to get much playoff time.
Man of the Match: Tim Howard.  Duh, he stopped a PK.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Rapids Clinch CCL, Fall Behind In Shield Race

Full recap tomorrow but here's where today's results put us.

With NYCFC's loss we are guaranteed a top 3 overall finish and with it, a spot in the 2017-18 CONCACAF Champions League.  For the current edition the draw was held on May 30th and the first games were in the first week of August.  I would assume similar scheduling next year for the 2017-18 edition.

We have not yet clinched hosting MLS Cup if we make it.  If RBNY beat Philly and we lose to Houston, then end up facing RBNY in MLS Cup we would play at Red Bull Arena.  Any other combination of results in those two games next week or any other opponent should we make it to MLS Cup and it would be played at DSG Park.

We have lost control of our destiny in the Supporters Shield race.  With Dallas' win and our loss Dallas now has a 2 point lead in the race.  In order to win it we have to beat Houston next week and LA has to beat Dallas.  The problem with that later requirement is LA clinched the #3 seed in the West this week.  The only thing they have to play for is a chance as a CCL spot by finishing ahead of NYCFC and hoping the MLS Cup winner (if not them) is one of the 3 teams already qualified or a Canadian team.  Long odds.  More likely they realize they host a wild-card game 3 days later and they rest as much as they can against Dallas to prepare for that winner-take-all match.  Dallas does go to Guatemala before the LA game and stranger things have happened but right now Dallas is now the heavy favorite to win.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Into The Storm

Sink the Timbers!

Next to last game of the season and all to play for.  A win tomorrow afternoon combined with a Dallas loss at the same time and the Shield is ours.  Odds are very good of winning the Shield as long as we match Dallas' result tomorrow, what with a last-placed Houston team coming to Commerce City next week.  If Dallas' result is better than ours tomorrow though it gets very difficult.  Dallas will likely go to LA (via Guatemala) and play a Galaxy team that is locked int to a 3/4 finish and may want to rest for their mid-week wild-card game so expecting them to get a result against Dallas to help us is a big ask.  So tomorrow is really the key day in this Shield battle.  Coverage starts at 3:15 on ESPN tomorrow, with actual kickoff expected around 3:25 or so.

Player Availability:
OUT: D Bobby Burling (toe); M Dillon Serna (season ending ACL tear); M Jermaine Jones (quad)
QUESTIONABLE: M Marlon Hairston (leg)
ONE YELLOW FROM SUSPENSION: D Axel Sjoberg (1 game until good behavior reduction); D Marc Burch; F Dominique Badji

I've talked about the inaccuracy of the injury report before and I question this one considering Burling was in the 18 on Thursday night.  All I can figure is that the Rapids have decided its not worth him making the trip to Portland with their turf field (wet turf tomorrow) coming off an injury so they just ruled him out.  The Rapids official preview lists Hairston, Jones, and Serna as out and the same 3 Timbers as Questionable or worse as the official injury report does.

Starting XI Prediction:

There's been some consternation among Rapids fans over Pablo's comments earlier this week that he would rotate players for this game.  With the Shield so close they've also talked this week about wanting to win it.  Those two things don't go together.  My prediction is that we will see some rotation.  Cronin is back from suspension and will obviously start.  Doyle is just back from injury, went 90 minutes on Thursday night, and this game will be on wet turf.  Odds are he won't start.  Le Toux had a heavy run on Thursday and is one of our older players, so I could see him getting a rest.  Maybe we make a change on the back line letting either Miller or Watts sit and Williams play but maybe not.  Beyond that though, I can't image any major changes.  Pablo won't throw away a chance at the Shield by starting Castillo and Calvert.

Prediction: 1-1 draw, goal by Badji.  Portland has scored in every home game this season and if they score in this one they'll be only the 2nd MLS team to not be shutout at home in a season.  With the wet turf and tired legs I'm going to assume they get one.  The Rapids have seemed to have a fire over the last couple of games that makes me think they won't go quietly though, and we steal a point and hope for some help from Seattle.

If there was ever a game for Tim Howard to stand on his head and get us a win though, this is it.  If we see the Secretary of Defense back there looking like the game where he earned that title a win might be possible.

Friday, October 14, 2016

One Down, Two To Go

Colorado got the first of the three wins they need to claim the Shield last night but it wasn't without controversy.  A pair of poor PK calls (one for each side) made for an interesting second half before the Rapids got their 11th home win of the season and went back to the top of the table.  A table that first time in months has an eual number of games played for every team.

General Impressions:
  • Outside of Doyle's goal (more on that below) the first half was largely ugly forgettable soccer.
  • That said, Doyle's diving header, from a purely aesthetic point of view, was one of the best goals in Rapids history.  It wasn't 'Celo's bike but outside of that there are only a few other goals I can remember that looked as good.  (Cooke's over the back pass to himself for the assist for example).  A almost fully horizontal Doyle makes perfect contact with the ball and puts it in the upper corner.  Gorgeous.
  • The celebration knee slide needs work though. :D
  • The Rapids came out to absorb pressue to start the 2nd half and it cost them.  The other option would have been to try to catch them on the counter and end the game there, might have been a better choice.
  • That PK call on Miller was a joke.  If anything the foul was Wondo on Miller, not the other way around.  Either way it was so light that given what else the ref let go I don't know what he was thinking calling it.
  • That did wake the team up though, from that point on the Rapids outplayed San Jose and wanted it more.
  • The Rapids PK call was also bad, just not as bad as the one SJ got.  I think when you look up the definition of "makeup call" now you'll see that PK call.
  • Badji and Calvert were both unlucky to have balls cleared off the line.  Wynne's headed clearance on Calvert's shot was particularly impressive.
  • Using Doyle as the central attacking midfielder was a surprising move but one that paid off.  We might want to consider that more going forward if Jones continues to be unavailable.
  • Badji has quietly turned  in a solid second half of the season.  He's still not my first choice to be starting up top when everyone is healthy but he's rounded into a solid utility option.
  • Le Toux was the Energizer bunny out there, hopefully he has something left for Portland on Sunday.
  • A lot of the offense went through Burch last night.  He deserves a no as a unsung hero this season, especially for somebody I didn't expect to be a regular starter back in March.
  • 4 games ago no Rapid had scored multiple goals in a game this season.  Since then Gashi, Badji, and now Doyle have all done it.
  • Doyle just tied Badji for second in the team golden boot race with 6 goals.  Gashi still has the lead at 8.
  • With one more point or one point dropped by either NY team the Rapids will clinch a spot in the 2017-18 CONCACAF Champions League.  With that point or a point dropped by both NY teams they'll clinch hosting of MLS Cup if we make it to the final.
  • The Rapids can win the Supporters Shield with a win in Portland on Sunday and a win by Seattle in Dallas (games are played simultaneously).  Any other set of results and the Shield will come down to the final day next Sunday.
  • With Houston in town next week you have to like our odds to win that game so really what the Rapids need to do Sunday to tip the odds in their favor is to at least match whatever Dallas does against Seattle.
Man of the Match: Kevin Doyle.  We'll be seeing the first goal in highlight reels for years.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Death Or Glory

It was either this or Career Opportunities

So here we are.  3 games in 11 days to win the Supporters Shield.  First up, the Earthquakes tomorrow night.  San Jose is one loss (or a couple of wins from other teams) from playoff elimination so they have a lot on the line as well though they're chances are really slim even with a win.  Kickoff tomorrow night is 7pm at DSG.  The tailgate will start at 4, or as soon as people can get there from work.

Player Availability:
OUT: M Dillon Serna (season ending ACL tear); M Jermaine Jones (quad)
QUESTIONABLE: D Bobby Burling (toe); D Sean St. Ledger (knee)
SUSPENDED: M Sam Cronin (yellow card accumulation)
ONE YELLOW FROM SUSPENSION: D Axel Sjoberg (2 games until good behavior reduction); D Marc Burch; F Dominique Badji

San Jose has four players missing to injury.  The discipline report hasn't been updated since last week so I don't know their card situation.  Obviously missing Cronin is a hit though I'd rather him sit out this game then Sunday in Portland (Sjoberg, Burch, Badji, I'm talking to you).

Starting XI Prediction:

Its really a question as to what lineup Pablo will roll out.  With a game 3 days later and a game 5 days ago there's some balancing to be done.  My guess is that he'll go for the "easier" points at home tomorrow night and then roll the dice  in Portland on Sunday but there are arguments to be made to try to rest players tomorrow night.

Prediction: 1-0 win, goal by Gashi.  SJ has the worst offense but the second best defense in the league and we haven't beaten them in 14 games.  I think Gashi finally gets a home goal and we get the win but it won't be pretty.  But heck, if Oregon can lose by 49 after a 12 game UW losing streak, maybe we win 6-0 tomorrow night?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Vacation Recap

After some consideration I've decided not to endorse this park...

For the last week and a half I've been in Florida doing the theme park circuit (including Universal's Islands of Adventure, above) and visiting my father-in-law (again, above, on the right).  Thus the prolonged absence of any posts here.  I've tried posting from an iPad and its a bit of a pain in the ass.  So let's do a quick recap of the two games I missed.

The first half of Rapids-Timbers was physical but bad:

LeToux scores early in the second:

Rapids enact their patented "hold on to a 1 goal lead for dear life" strategy:

Rapids win!

Man of the Match: LeToux

Badji scores early against Houston:

Rapids give it back before half:

Badji scores the same goal again after half off another assist from Powers:

Gashi gives the Rapids the mythical 2 goal lead:

Houston scores, giving us a 1 goal lead to hold on to for the final minutes:

Rapids win!

Man of the Match: Dominque Badji

Oh and at the same time, this happened

With that win the Rapids clinch a top 2 finish for the first time in their history, set a new record for total points in a season (54 and counting), and are guaranteed their best pts/game in a season.

If they win their 3 remaining games they'll win the Supporters Shield (they're 2 back of Dallas with a game in hand but lose the tiebreakers).  A win and a draw in the final 3 will guarantee a CONCACAF Champions League spot next year and hosting MLS Cup if we make it.