Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Diego Rubio put in a stoppage-time goal for the win.
Tonight’s game didn’t mean much for the Houston Dynamo, sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference. And the Colorado Rapids had clinched a playoff berth and for the first time since 2016, weren’t depending on the results of another game on Decision Day to determine their playoff fate. Tonight was about pride for the Dynamo and the chance for the Rapids to move up in the standings and avoid having to play the Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers, or Sporting Kansas City in the first round.
The first half was, in a word, boring. Both sides mixed up their starting line-ups, resulting in players that were clearly out of sync. It was not great soccer. The most notable things that happened were that William Yarbrough had a save in the 2nd minute and Jonathan Lewis had a decent shot in first-half stoppage time. And Houston lost forward Darwin Quintero to an injury in the 39th minute.
Rapids Head Coach Robin Fraser made two important changes to start the second half, bringing in Younes Namli and Jack Price. As much as Fraser has been criticized for his subbing choices in previous games, he got it right this time—Namli scored the first goal of the game.
Mauro Manotos scored quickly for Houston, but he was deemed to be offside. A few minutes later, he broke through again and tied things up 1-1.
As the game was winding down, it looked like both clubs were going to walk away with a point, but three minutes into stoppage time, Cole Bassett sent a ball to Diego Rubio. Rubio took the ball up, dribbled around a defender, and scored the game-winning goal.
The Rapids will go into the playoffs with a 3-game winning streak and five road wins (tied for best in MLS). They moved into 5th place, which means they will play at Minnesota United. The exact date is still TBD, but it will be November 21, 22, or 24.