New Mexico United upsets Rapids on penalty kicks


COMMERCE CITY — Regulation for the New Mexico United soccer team started and ended the same.

A goal that was registered ticks after the kickoff, and the sequel, seconds before the final whistle, dragged the USL squad into overtime against the Rapids in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

A shootout decided it in favor of the upstart tier-two squad, with New Mexico scoring four penalty kicks to the Rapids’ two.

Overcoming a late 2-1 Rapids lead, the New Mexico squad fought back while Colorado’s best efforts were focused on each side of halftime with both toughness and scoring. In a game that was whistled down for fouls 25 times and halted for yellow cards nine of those occasions, the inaugural-year New Mexico club toppled the man-down Rapids. United can earn the Land of Enchantment its first soccer trophy.

A ruckus, loudmouthed crowd made the trek up Interstate 25 to offer plenty of voice to the chorus of whistles below that drowned out a small Rapids fan section, though only 2,619 were actually at the stadium.

The match started as poorly as possible for the Rapids. New Mexico rushed up the field to force a corner kick 120 seconds after kickoff. Bouncing through the box, the thrice-headed ball found the foot of United striker Devon Sandoval and then the net.

In the 35th minute, the Rapids equalized. Danny Wilson nailed a ball into the box that the wild hair of Lalas Abubakar beautifully crossed. Off the volley, Diego Rubio struck and scored.

A wild ending to the half included several dust-ups and five yellow cards in a 10-minute span. The physicality picked up between two clubs in their first-ever matchup as the Rapids willed themselves into the match.

The Rapids got on the board once more right after the break. This time Rubio laid on a low-cross for Nicolás Mezquida. The Uruguayan forward punched the ball into the corner to give the Rapids a 2-1 lead.

Colorado went down to 10 men when Axel Sjöberg was shown a second yellow card and a subsequent red. Twice he took down United players on the break, with his final strike occurring in the 72nd minute.

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Sandoval almost finished regulation time as he started while the time hit 90 minutes on the dot. Luckily for the Rapids, he could not find his footing within a foot of the goal and the ball squeezed just …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports

      

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