By DAN KARELL
Just when it seemed that the New York Red Bulls were on their way back to playing winning soccer, they took another step back.
Taking advantage of a number of errors and miscues by the Red Bulls, the Colorado Rapids scored twice in the second half to earn a 2-0 victory over their Eastern Conference opposition on Thursday night in front of 18,359 fans at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
On a night when the Red Bulls looked flat and Colorado had the look of a team riding high after their impressive win in Montreal, the match played out as expected, with the Rapids once again beating New York at home, in what has become a bit of a tradition.
Four days after positive performance at home in a 2-0 outcome against the Houston Dynamo, the Red Bulls had a letdown in the altitude of Commerce City, Colorado. Tim Cahill hardly saw the ball, and at times Thierry Henry had to drop back all the way to the defensive line just to start an attack moving forward.
The damage began in the 47th minute, when Dillon Powers hit an out-swinging corner kick for the Rapids. After Cahill won the initial header, the ball pinged inside the box, eventually being blocked by Red Bulls defender Markus Holgersson on the line. Holgersson’s block careened straight to the Rapids’ Nathan Sturgis, who finished into the roof of the net to give his side the lead.
Second-half substitute Deshorn Brown nearly doubled the lead a few minutes later, only for Red Bulls defender Jamison Olave to come to the rescue. Try as they might, the Red Bulls never looked certain to score, and Brown finally got his goal in the 68th minute. Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty turned the ball over to Rapids left back Chris Klute, who sent in a pass across the face of goal that Brown turned in from close range.
Needing a goal, Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke sent on Lloyd Sam and Peguy Luyindula to try and spark the side, but it came to no avail, as the Red Bulls slumped to their seventh loss of the season.
Here are the match highlights: