image from ussoccerplayers.com
by Marko Ukalovic
SAN JOSE—Dominique Badji’s first goal of the season could not have came at a better time.
Badji entered the match in the 88th minute and a minute later scored the game winning goal to help the Colorado Rapids defeat the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 on Saturday evening at Pal Pay Park.
Nicolás Mezquida won a 50-50 ball just past midfield. He raced down the middle of the pitch before placing a perfect touch pass behind two San Jose defenders over to Badji and the 29-year old midfielder from Senegal fired a strike past Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski to break the hearts of the 14,142 in attendance.
San Jose (6-8-8) had a chance to score the equalizer in the second minute of stoppage time when Cristian Espinoza found Paul Marie inside the box with a cross from the right wing, but Marie’s header was knocked away at the last second by the left hand of Rapids goalie William Yarbrough.
Colorado (12-4-5) now have 41 points and jumped ahead of Sporting Kansas City into second place in the Western Conference standings. San Jose had its 10-game unbeaten streak snapped as they have fallen to 10th place with 26 points, four behind Real Salt Lake for the seventh and final playoff spot.
The match started out with a bang. As in a big head on head collision in the second minute when Jeremy Ebobisse and Lalas Abubakar had their heads bang against each other when both players went for a ball up in the air. Both players remained down on the pitch for several minutes before being helped off by the field. Abubakar received a yellow card on the dangerous challenge.
Neither player returned to the game and were still being evaluated after the match. Cade Cowell subbed in for Ebobisse in the sixth minute while Drew Moor came in for Abubakar.
Neither team generated many scoring chances in the first half as there was only one shot on target in the first 45 minutes.
San Jose’s best chance came in the 40th minute when Nathan sent in a long ball down the right wing that Cowell was able to chase down. The 2021 MLS All-Star dribbled in before firing a shot just wide of the net on the left side.
Andre Shinyashiki had the best chance for the Rapids in the first half but his shot went wide left of the net in the 41st minute.
The Rapids came close to breaking the ice in the 60th minute when Michael Barrios stripped the ball off Tanner Beason inside the box. He made a quick back pass over to Cole Bassett whose shot hit the left post.
A controversial no call happened in the 76th minute when Espinoza had possession inside the box when Moor apparently held on to him and took him down but referee Joseph Dickerson ruled no foul occurred and play continued on much to chagrin on the San Jose sideline.
Colorado’s Mezquida shot a bicycle kick on target from 10 yards out that Nathan headed out for a corner kick. in the 79th minute.
Espinoza sent a cross into the box over to an open Carlos Fierro but the pass was just a tad hot too handle for Fierro as the ball deflected off of his foot for a goal kick in the 86th minute.
Yarbrough finished the match stopping both shots on goal to earn his ninth shutout of the season and his 12th win overall. Marcinkowski made three saves in the losing effort.
GAME NOTES: San Jose did not have a corner kick in the match. Colorado has one.
With the loss, the Quakes hold an all-time home record of 17-9-9 against the Rapids, including their first loss at Pay Pal Park with a 4-1-2 mark.
The Quakes’ celebrated its annual Mexican Heritage Night, which featured a live luchador performance, themed airbrush tattoos and face paintings and a El jimador postgame fiesta.
UP NEXT: San Jose travel out to Dallas to take on FC Dallas on Saturday 9/11 at 5:30pm at Toyota Stadium.