Rapids roar back to a 3-1 draw with Minnesota United

Not often does a coach get involved in the on-field huddle with their team coming out of halftime. Whatever Chris Armas said to his Colorado Rapids, down 3-1 at the time, worked wonders.

In another world, the Rapids took advantage of just one more great opportunity and avenged a bad first half with a gritty win, but they’ll instead settle for a 3-3 draw to the Western Conference’s second-best team in Minnesota United in front of 16,201 people at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the largest crowd of the year.

“In that moment (on the field at halftime), it was just another reminder of the belief and the challenge of staying focused,” Armas said. “I give the boys a lot of credit tonight because I’m not sure how many games we’re going to play with nine or 10 big chances statistically.”

Each team bagged a brace by way of Minnesota’s Sang Bin Jeong and Colorado’s Kévin Cabral. On a scale of pleasant and unpleasant surprises, the two are on complete opposite ends from a Rapids perspective.

Sang Bin’s first goal came early and knocked the wind out of the stadium when Robin Lod played a nice through ball to find Sang Bin for a straightforward one-on-one with Zack Steffen in the eighth minute. He scored again in the 33rd minute on a similar through ball, that one provided by Tani Oluwaseyi.

Cole Bassett, who provided the assist to Cabral’s second goal — which tied the game at three — was blunt about the defensive plays the Rapids missed in those moments, citing poor effort on second balls, which allowed Minnesota to turn and go.

“The ball is in the air, we don’t win the first ball and then we allow them to turn, face forward and play it through. And we get caught sleeping,” Bassett said. “We work on that all the time. That stuff shouldn’t be happening.”

Omir Fernández found Cabral brilliantly with a header off of a goal kick in the 18th minute which played him through one-on-one with Minnesota keeper Dayne St. Clair. Even after a heavy touch, Cabral kept his cool enough to poke it through on goal.

His second goal, a header straight to St. Clair that with a stroke of luck dribbled past his hands past the goal line, was a cherry on top of a coming-out party of sorts.

In a season and a half with the Rapids, the goals were the Frenchman’s first at DSGP.

“I’m really really happy. It feels good (to score) at home,” Cabral said. “I’ve gotten a lot of chances in some past games, so even though the second goal was kind of lucky, I’ll take it every day.”

Between Cabral’s goals was yet another strike by Brazilian forward Rafael Navarro. His ninth of the season was a glancing header in the 62nd minute on a corner kick with service provided by Djordje Mihailovic, his sixth assist of the year.

He had a chance to reach double digits with a penalty in the 69th minute earned by Fernández, but was denied by a St. Clair kicksave on a shot down the middle.

Though he couldn’t reach the 10-goal mark Saturday, there were other significant milestones he broke with the goal he did score. Firstly, it was the 26th total goal of the season for the Rapids this year, tying the 2023 season total with 19 games still to play in 2024 — Cabral’s second goal officially broke the mark.

Perhaps more impressively, Navarro has now scored in five straight matches, making him the first Rapids player to do so since Omar Cummings in 2010. If he makes it six straight on the road trip to Houston this Wednesday, he would make club history by being the only player to reach that mark.

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