Colorado Rapids 2, San Jose Earthquakes 1 | 2016 MLS Match Recap
Two contentious penalty-kick calls and 94-plus minutes of tense October soccer sent two teams in very different directions at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Thursday night.
A late PK earned Kevin Doyle a brace and kept the Colorado Rapids on course for the 2016 Supporters' Shield with a 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes. Tasked with an unusual assignment as Colorado's No. 10, the Irish international opened the scoring with a spectacular diving header into the top corner some seven minutes before halftime.
The visitors scrambled desperately to dig out a point from their trip to Commerce City and thought they'd done so with a spot kick from Chris Wondolowski, but were officially eliminated from Audi MLS Cup Playoffs contention at the final whistle.
With the win, the Rapids moved into the top spot in both the Western Conference and Shield standings on 57 points, one ahead of FC Dallas with the two West frontrunners finally level in games played at 32. Thursday's win also extended Colorado's impressive undefeated home record to 11-0-5 on the year.
- 38' – COL – Kevin Doyle (Marc Burch, Dominique Badji)
- 57' – SJ – Chris Wondolowski (PK)
- 73' – COL – Kevin Doyle (PK)
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- RAPID RENAISSANCE: Colorado have topped the standings before this season, but seizing first place with two games left is as good a time as any to remember just how far they've come in the last 365 days or so. In 2015 the Mile High Club finished dead last in the West with 37 points and a 9-15-10 record; now they're in the catbird's seat for the Supporters' Shield and a deep playoff run.
- BEND, BUNKER, BUT DON'T BREAK: The Rapids' sustained defensive excellence has few peers in MLS history, and they've shown impressive resourcefulness along the way. Against San Jose, they allowed plenty of completed passes, a few of them even key passes into the penalty box, but generally pushed the Quakes into wider, less dangerous spots...and blocked seven shots on those occasions when danger arose near goal.
- COMMERCE CITY CONTROVERSY: The Quakes faced an uphill battle to sneak into the postseason at this point. But it surely stings for coach Dominic Kinnear & Co. nonetheless to have their hopes extinguished by an off-the-ball PK call on a corner kick, even if referee Robert Sibiga was in good position to spot the contact between Fatai Alashe and Dillon Powers.