COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) – Vicente Sanchez is quickly making a good impression with his new club.
Sanchez scored a goal and knocked another in off an opposing player and the Colorado Rapids rallied for a 2-1 win over FC Dallas on a rainy Saturday night.
David Ferreira scored for Dallas (10-8-10), which was dealt a blow in its late-season playoff push by an unfortunate bounce.
Sanchez was playing just his fifth game with the Rapids, where he joined the team after playing in his homeland, Uruguay. He had two assists before Saturday and finally got his first goal with the Rapids.
“That’s why Vicente’s here and the fans are getting in love with him,” Colorado coach Oscar Pareja said.
Dallas, which went nearly three months without a victory before beating Chivas USA on Aug. 21, came into the game 2-0-1 in its last three to pull within two points of the Rapids for the final postseason spot. However, Colorado (12-8-9) made sure Dallas stayed outside the playoff picture by taking advantage of a miscue.
With the score tied at 1-all, Sanchez sent a ball to the front of the net when Dallas defender Matt Hedges tried to make a sliding deflection. Instead, he knocked it into his own net to give Colorado the lead in the 65th minute.
Ten minutes earlier, FC Dallas appeared to be in control.
After fending off chances most of the game, Dallas capitalized on one of its few opportunities.
Jair Benitez sent a low pass to the front of the goal from the left side. Ferreira raced through the defense and redirected the ball into an open net while sliding on the grass in the 51st.
It was just the fourth shot of the game for FC Dallas.
“We played some good soccer despite being a tough place to play,” midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson said. “We got a beautiful goal from David, we had good chances to score again but we didn’t capitalize.”
The Rapids tied it in the 58th as Watson tried to head Christopher Klute’s chip-in out of danger, but the ball went to Sanchez, who blasted a shot past goalie Raul Fernandez.
“I was able to score the goal, and it was good because we got the three points,” Sanchez said through a translator. “If you score and the team doesn’t win it doesn’t mean anything.”
After the Rapids went ahead, Dallas had a few chances to tie it but goalie Clint Irwin preserved the lead. His biggest save came on Benitez’s free kick during injury time.
“After they went up 2-1 we were all over them. Unfortunately we didn’t get the equalizer,” Watson said. “We have six games remaining, we’re playing good soccer, we just have to keep on digging.”
The start of the game was delayed 54 minutes by lightning in the area. Rain, which has hammered the state since Tuesday and caused severe flooding in many areas, stopped before kickoff.
The game was scoreless at half despite Colorado’s numerous chances in the first 45 minutes. The Rapids had near-misses in the first 10 minutes, and in the 26th Sanchez set up teammate Atiba Harris with a great opportunity. Sanchez saved the ball from going out in the corner, then lofted a pass to the front of the net but Harris’ header went off the turf and over the crossbar.
Later, Edson Buddle was free just inside the penalty box but his blistering shot went wide left.
“The first half we played very well, we spread the ball the way we wanted and had control of the game,” Pareja said. “We had good chances.”
FC Dallas had few chances but nearly scored in the final minutes of the half when they got behind the defense. Irwin was able to scoop up the ball before Dallas could get a shot off.
– By MICHAEL KELLY, Associated Press
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