COMMERCE CITY – Colorado Rapids’ set-piece kings reclaimed their crowns in a win over visiting FC Dallas on Wednesday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Rapids assistant Chris Sharpe provided the direction. Captain Jack Price brought the service, and Lalas Abubakar headed home his first goal of the season, as the Rapids won 2-0 to cap a four-game homestand.
“When it comes to set pieces, nothing is by chance. Chris Sharpe is the best I’ve ever seen at organizing and designing set-piece plays,” Rapids coach Robin Fraser said. “What he’s done is create the structure where guys feel like we’re going to score on every single set piece. Pricey’s delivery is great. The runs, they’re precise, and we have guys, who as I said, when we get set pieces, they genuinely feel like they’re going to score. You see that sort of confidence almost every time you see Pricey step over it.”
In the 48th minute, Price played a corner kick right onto the forehead of Abubakar, who shed his marker and finished.
“It was a good setup. I give credit to, like I said, the coaching staff. They set us up pretty well,” Abubakar said. “That’s a great cross from Pricey. The runs have been great. My teammates’ runs have been great, and I think that kept me open. I just put it in the back of the net.”
It was Price’s team-high fifth assist of the season even though he’s missed a couple of the team’s first 13 matches.
Abubakar’s was the only goal the Rapids would need to earn the three points, though Michael Barrios scored against his former team in the 55th minute for a 2-0 final score.
The game went to the half scoreless with both teams recording four shots. The Rapids put two of theirs on goal to just one from Dallas. Rapids goalkeeper William Yarbrough made the biggest save of his sixth clean sheet this season in the 23rd minute, stopping a Ryan Hollingshead attempt from close range with a strong right hand.
The Rapids would score their goals early in the second half and stretch their unbeaten streak to four matches.
“I thought we were good in spurts — probably not as good as we would like to be over the course of 90 minutes — but that’s one of the things I really enjoy about this team is that even when things aren’t going well, the fight is so good,” Fraser said. “We just persevered and had two really good goals at critical and important times. From there, we finished it off quite professionally. Difficult game for certain, I’m really proud of the group.”
The Rapids (7-3-3) will take 24 points into Saturday’s match at Rocky Mountain Cup rival Real Salt Lake.
“I think we need to recover and get our mind ready for Saturday because it’s going to be a really good game. It’s going to be a difficult game (in a) difficult environment,” Abubakar said. “Right now, the message is get everybody ready to go on Saturday.”