COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The Colorado Rapids continue to keep their postseason hopes alive, taking home a 2-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo on the back of a late Kevin Doyle goal Wednesday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
The winner from Doyle came after the teams exchanged first-half penalty kicks, with Vicente Sanchez converting for Colorado and Brad Davis for Houston.
The win is Colorado’s second straight, not yet enough to move them out of the bottom of the Western Conference with 30 points from 25 games but pushing them to within two points of ninth-place Real Salt Lake and five points of the playoff line. The Dynamo, meanwhile, coming off their 2-2 tie against the Portland Timbers on Friday, remain in eighth place with 32 points from 26 games.
With Houston still missing key pieces DaMarcus Beasley, Ricardo Clark and Jermaine Taylor due to injury, Colorado started the match on the front foot, firing an early shot across the bow with a long range shot from Gabriel Torres in the second minute that was sent over the bar.
Houston finally kick started their attacking efforts in the 11th minute when Davis ripped a left-footed shot from 30 yards out, but the effort was tipped over the bar by Clint Irwin.
Colorado grabbed the lead when Dynamo defender Alex, starting at left back for the first time after 10 appearances in midfield, was ruled to have handled the ball on a challenge on Sanchez in the 20th minute. Sanchez buried the penalty kick to the right of Tyler Deric.
The Rapids returned the favor in the 35th minute when a handball was called on Bobby Burling in Colorado’s box. Davis struck his shot right down the middle to level the score at 1-1.
The Dynamo started the second half with some suspect defending as Alex, making a rare start at left back in place of Beasley, was again unable to contain Sanchez, but Colorado couldn't capitalize despite seeing Deric off his line.
Colorado put their noses in front once more in the 80th minute when Sean St Ledger whipped a ball in from the edge of Houston’s end line, finding Doyle, who buried the header to put the Rapids in front 2-1.
The goal revved up attacking momentum for Colorado, who nearly added to the lead on a volleyed effort by Dillon Powers in the 84th minute. And Colorado were able to preserve the lead for their second victory in five days following their 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Saturday.
On short rest, both teams return to action this Saturday against Western Conference opponents. Colorado remain home to play host to Sporting KC, while the Dynamo will return to BVBA Compass Stadium to host the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Colorado Rapids (7-9-9, 30 points) vs. Houston Dynamo (8-10-8, 32 points)
MLS regular season
August 26, 2015 – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colorado
Colorado Rapids: Vicente Sanchez 2 (penalty) 20
Houston Dynamo: Brad Davis 2 (penalty) 37
Colorado Rapids: Kevin Doyle 2 (Sean St. Ledger 1, Dillon Serna 1) 79
Houston Dynamo: Tyler Deric; Sheanon Williams, David Horst, AJ Cochran, Alex; Luis Garrido, Nathan Sturgis; Boniek García (Leonel Miranda 60), Giles Barnes (Erick Torres 78), Brad Davis ©; Will Bruin (Mauro Manotas 70)
Substitutes Not Used: Joe Willis, Taylor Hunter, Rasheed Olabiyi
Colorado Rapids: Clint Irwin; Drew Moor, Bobby Burling, Sean St. Ledger, Maynor Figueroa; Sam Cronin ©, Marcelo Sarvas; Vicente Sanchez (Juan Ramirez, 65), Dillon Serna, Gabriel Torres (Dillon Powers 57); Kevin Doyle
Substitutes Not Used: Zac MacMath, James Riley, Axel Sjoberg, Nick LaBrocca, Marlon Hairston
COL: Bobby Burling (caution) 35
COL: Sam Cronin (caution) 39
HOU: Will Bruin (caution) 48
HOU: Alex (caution) 58
COL: Juan Ramirez (caution) 76
Referee: Drew Fischer
Assistant Referees: Claudiu Badea, Fabio Tovar
Fourth Official: Tyler Ploeger