Colorado has never been a hospitable place for the Crew, not for the teams of Tom Fitzgerald or Sigi Schmid or Robert Warzycha. First-year coach Greg Berhalter made his first trip to the thin air of suburban Commerce City last night hoping to change his club's frustratingly familiar fortunes against the Rapids. Consider the resulting 1-1 tie an improvement.
Colorado has never been a hospitable place for the Crew, not for the teams of Tom Fitzgerald or Sigi Schmid or Robert Warzycha.
First-year coach Greg Berhalter made his first trip to the thin air of suburban Commerce City last night hoping to change his club’s frustratingly familiar fortunes against the Rapids.
Consider the resulting 1-1 tie an improvement.
Ethan Finlay scored in the 76th minute to give the Crew (4-5-8) its first goal and its first point in Denver since 2009.
It ended a 257-minute scoreless streak for the Crew, which played to its fourth straight tie and has won only one of its past 14 games.
The Crew, which entered with only three wins (3-11-4) in its previous 18 visits to Colorado, was a questionable offside call away from taking a 1-0 lead when striker Jairo Arrieta beat goalkeeper Clint Irwin in the 57th minute.
Two minutes later, Rapids defender Marvell Wynne floated a cross into the box for Vicente Sanchez, who darted underneath Crew center back Eric Gehrig and attempted a header as he converged with Gehrig.
Wynne’s cross bounded squarely off the head of the Crew defender and into his own net.
The equalizer was set up by Arrieta, whose counterattacking feed to Finlay was intercepted but not controlled by Colorado defender Jared Watts. Finlay, playing his first game since undergoing an appendectomy last month, was undeterred by the interruption and finished from short range for his fourth goal.
Neither team toyed with long buildups in a first half characterized by end-to-end forays into both penalty areas.
Although Colorado (7-5-5) controlled possession early, it was the Crew that was more dangerous.
The Crew took seven shots in the first half, three of which were saved by Irwin.
Crew captain and playmaker Federico Higuain did not dress because of a right hamstring injury. He came off the bench in a scoreless draw with FC Dallas on Sunday but has played only 66 minutes in five games since suffering the injury.
Berhalter, hoping to spark his attack, used a lineup that included wide midfielders Bernardo Anor and Hector Jimenez playing left and right back, respectively.
Jimenez was taken off on a stretcher off late in the second half after a nasty challenge by Sanchez and was subbed out.