Johnny Russell Set Piece Goal Rescues Point for Sporting KC at Colorado Rapids

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (March 17, 2019) – Colorado Rapids and Sporting KC played to a hard fought draw on Sunday night. Diego Rubio scores in the second half, appearing to get the last laugh on his former club. A Johnny Russell set piece in the final minutes pulled a point back for the visitors and the match ended 1-1.

Johnny Russell Set Piece Goal Rescues Point for Sporting KC at Colorado Rapids 1-1

The first half was an even and scoreless affair. The two sides traded chances from open play in the first 20 minutes. Felipe Gutierrez had a good strike on a free kick inside the final third that sailed wide of the near-side post.

Colorado’s best opportunity came in the 23rd minute on a 3-v-3 counter attack. Diego Rubio ran towards goal with Kei Kamara floating into the gap between the center backs. Rubio elected to shoot first time. It was blocked and fell to Keegan Rosenberry, who sent a cross in that was cleared out.

The best chance for either side came just before halftime. Goalkeeper Tim Howard missed on a pass out of the back that led to a turnover. He closed down the initial shot, but the ball deflected to a wide open Roger Espinoza. Espinoza tried to chip everyone, but the shot went off the crossbar and out for a goal kick.

The half ended 0-0.

The game got chippy in the second half with both sides committing more fouls and complaining to the official when play was stopped.

Colorado scored on a mistake in the 54th minute. Matt Besler passed the ball back to Tim Melia who took a touch to control. Rubio ran toward him as soon as Besler passed it. He surprised Melia, who couldn’t clear it time, and shot the ball into an open net.

The Rapids nearly doubled their advantage in the 78th minute when Kellyn Acosta had a direct set piece shot go off the crossbar.

The game turned on its head in the 88th minute. Substitute Johan Blomberg was given a second yellow card, for time wasting, reducing the Pids to 10 minutes. Substitute Johnny Russell stepped up to take the free kick and bent it over the wall and inside the far post. The match ended 1-1 with helter skelter play at both ends.

Three Takeaways:

Chances wasted: Despite the passing in the final third lacking at times, both teams had their chances. Both goalkeepers have some film work to do next week and three posts were hit. The finishing could have been sharper.

Physical play: Head Official Alan Chapman let the boys be boys in this game. Despite protests for fouls and several handballs, the officials were hesitant to call fouls at times and gave some rather harsh cards at times as well.

The Scotsman wins St. Patrick’s Day: It appeared that Diego Rubio was ready to have the last laugh against his former team. But veteran and star winger Russell scored a fantastic goal. SKC has had a crazy schedule this month and got a hard earned point on the road.

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