Sources of frustration ranged from the Rapids' performance in the final minutes to U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer’s inflexibility following Colorado’s exit from the U.S. Open Cup in a match that started Wednesday night and finished Thursday at Minnesota United’s Allianz Field.
The hosts scored the game-winning goal minutes after Minnesota defender Brent Kallman was sent off in the 83rd minute following his second yellow card.
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“I think a lot of different facets of the game just weren’t good enough tonight,” Rapids defender Keegan Rosenberry said. “At the end of the day, we were gifted a pretty good opportunity with going up a man later in the game. We didn’t make the right tactical adjustments to be able to take advantage of that.”
Four minutes after Kallman left the field, Emanuel Reynoso weaved through Colorado’s defense and hit a shot that dipped beyond Clint Irwin on its way into the goal, effectively eliminating the Rapids in the Round of 32.
“I just think 10 players shouldn’t produce such a good opportunity against 11,” Fraser said.
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Colorado earned a free kick and corner kick in stoppage time but failed to turn either into anything. After the final whistle, Fraser explained his frustrations with MLS and U.S. Soccer, which runs the Open Cup. The two teams played just over 17 minutes Wednesday before storms forced the match to be resumed at noon Thursday. The final whistle blew 48 hours before the Rapids are scheduled to host LAFC at home.
“The ideal thing for us is to play it on a different day. U.S. Soccer (was) not really willing to work with us. (I) don’t really understand that,” Fraser said. “I don’t want to make excuses and complain, but the two entities not really working together to help us — the two entities being U.S. Soccer and MLS. … My concern is about player safety, but that’s only my concern. Apparently, not everybody else shares that concern.”
The action resumed Thursday afternoon with the match tied at 1 in the 18th minute. Abu Danladi gave Minnesota the lead early Wednesday and Nicolas Mezquida equalized for Colorado in the 15th minute, just before play was suspended for the night.
Rapids rookie Anthony Markanich almost scored in his first-team debut, but his header clanged off the post near the half-hour mark. He also earned the set piece that preceded Mezquida’s goal and gave his coach something to praise after his 90-minute performance.
“Anthony’s contributions on the day were excellent,” Fraser said.
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Markanich’s chance seemed to open play, as each team created at least one more scoring opportunity before the first half ended nearly 18 hours after it started.
A couple of Rapids turnovers in their defensive third provided Minnesota a pair of chances early in the second half, but neither shot was on target. Minnesota had another couple of opportunities right before the hour mark, but Clint Irwin saved Kervin Arriaga’s free kick and Mark-Anthony Kaye blocked a shot to keep it level before Collen Warner cleared the danger.
Jonathan Lewis showed a sign of life from the Rapids attack in the 74th minute, but the second-half substitute’s shot went right at Minnesota goalkeeper Tyler Miller. A few minutes later, Miller had another basic save to make, this time off a Mezquida attempt. Lewis’s pace forced Kallman into the foul that led to his removal with 8 minutes to play, but the Rapids failed to capitalize.
“It’s a moment where we collectively need to kind of ramp things up and take advantage of that man advantage,” Rosenberry said. “Exploit the spaces, exploit the numbers advantage that we have around the field.”
The Rapids must quickly move on from their frustrations, with Western Conference leaders LAFC coming to Colorado on Saturday and a road trip for a midweek match at Sporting Kansas City looming.
“The disappointment is pretty high in a lot of things right now,” Fraser said. “But all we can do is get ourselves together and turn around and play in 48 hours and hope that the stretch that we have coming up, we don’t see injuries based on a lack of recovery time for the players.”