Monday, June 19, 2017

Patience Pays Off For Hairston’s Rapids

Colorado continued their run of keeping fans in the seats until the final whistle Saturday night with a thrilling, at-the-wire, Gordo-time victory over Portland at home.  In this fourth straight MLS win at home, the Rapids again timed their comeback perfectly with a pretty chipped goal from Dominique Badji, and the late-game heroics of Alan Gordon to overcome an early Timber’s goal.

Defender Marlon Hairston also played a role in the win as the young fullback worked nicely in tandem with midfielder Mohammed Saeid in providing push forward and service into the Portland penalty area on the night.  “Despite their goal, we were good on the ball, we created chances of our own and that’s something we’ve been having to focus on during practice is trying to instill in ourselves to create more chances,” Hairston told The Voice of C38 exclusively postgame.  “Playing with two forwards now we should have more numbers in the box and we should be getting as much service as we can into those guys.”

Portland’s Sebastian Blanco proved a bit tough to contain in the first half as we was able to possess and attack at Colorado defenders, including his run into the box for a nice upper-corner goal in the 18th minute.  “(Blanco), (Diego) Valeri, (Darlington) Nagbe, they created numerical overloads on both sides of the field and sometimes we were 2v1 and 3v2 and that’s what the game is about-creating those numerical overloads,” explained Hairston.  “In the first half they were able to do that a couple times.  Once those guys got tired they weren’t able to defend as much when we had the ball going forward so it created numerical overloads for us.” 

“Even though they scored the first goal we didn’t let our heads drop.  At halftime we came in and we sorted a few things out defensively,” Marlon said of the Rapids mentality coming back out down a goal.

“We still wanted to get out and attack those guys and we knew the goal was going to come.  We just had to continue to be aggressive going forward.  Second half the energy was ten times what it was in the first half.  For me seeing the opponents-it seemed like the altitude kicked in-they were a bit tired.  We’re fit here.  Once those guys started to get tired our second wind kicked in and we were able to create more chances because of it.”

It was a perfectly weighted through ball by forward Kevin Doyle that sprung Badji in the 52nd minute giving his strike partner a great look to see the keeper off his line and deftly chip over his head for the equalizer.  After that, momentum grew for Colorado as Saeid and Hairston begun to see their openings and find teammates up front.

“Bringing Mo into the group has been a great addition for us,” Marlon admits about the consistent Saeid.  “When he’s playing on my side he always gives me an outlet to play forward.  We combine a lot and I know he always wants the ball.  As much as we can both get forward, if I’m not crossing the ball he’s crossing the ball, one of us will get service into the box.”

That they did as Hairston floated a lovely ball for Doyle later on but the Irishman’s flick-header was barely fingertip saved at the goal.  Just before stoppage time began it was Saeid who drove a cross towards the back right post where Gordon does what he has for years and headed home the game-winner in front of a frenzied crowd on the night.