The MLS Champions enjoyed a sweet 3-1 victory over Isidro Metapan in El Salvador Wednesday night. This win gave the squad and their fans a night they will never forget.
Announcers and MLS fans were concerned by the controversial decision Gary Smith made to divide and conquer both CCL and MLS. Some thought Coach Smith had given up on CONCACAF Champions League and was sending his second team into a slaughter. The Colorado Rapids knew the truth. The MLS Champions were going to El Salvador to win.
Tyrone Marshall, the Colorado Rapids captain, called the team into a huddle before the kickoff. He appeared to be pouring words of confidence directly into the veins that pump into the heart of the young starters.
The game started with some last minute shoe changing, and it took some time for the Rapids to find their rhythm. Every minute that passed, however, resulted in a more confident squad.
Eddie Ababio, the Rapids first round pick of the Super Draft, was making his professional debut. It was fitting that on a night where the impossible seemed possible, Ababio would score the first goal in the 36th minute of the match. From that moment, the Rapids played as if they knew the three points was theirs to take home.
Isidro Metapan quickly responded. After a bizarre moment which confused viewers who were back in the states squinting at their computer screens, Alfredo Pacheco from Metapan tied it up. That would be the only time the host team would celebrate.
Halftime came and went, and the Rapids were quick to change the score.
In the 49th minute, Quincy Amarikwa, who had been out for some time, made the score 2-1 by perfectly placing the ball in the back of the net.
Back at home, fans at the British Bulldog and those in front of computers all over the Denver metro area found themselves not only cheering for their team, but believing that this young squad could earn three points.
Omar Cummings, a second-half substiture, made this hope a reality. The Jamaican once again looked at home on the pitch. He received a sending ball from Mike Holody in the 77th minute, making the final 3-1.
The whistle blew, and what had seemed impossible became possible. The Colorado Rapids were still alive in the CONCACAF Champions League. Yet, it was more than that. It was a group of guys overcoming so much and earning a victory. It was an ending that every Rapids player on that field will never forget.
The team that no one believed in silenced skeptics and reminded fans that every name on the MLS roster is an MLS Champion.
Watch full match highlights.
The good: Omar Cummings confident and in the zone again is just plain fun to watch.
The great: Eddie Ababio. Listed as a defender, he played as a midfielder and scored the goal that changed everything.
The awesome: These players worked hard and proved many wrong; it doesn’t get more awesome than that.
The Colorado Rapids host FC Dallas at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Saturday night, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are still available.