The Colorado Rapids strengthened their playoff aspirations with a point on the road in a 0-0 draw with the Kansas City Wizards Saturday night.
The Rapids appeared to come into the match with the mindset of looking for that point on the road, as the usually potent pairing of Conor Casey and Omar Cummings failed to test the City backline all night.
Kansas City, on the other had, saw their slim chances of making the playoffs take another hit, as they failed to capitalize on several chances to earn the win at home.
Proceedings between the two sides got off to a slow start, as neither team was able to settle in and take control of the match early on.
MLS leading goal scorer Conor Casey had an opportunity early on the match from a Mehdi Ballouchy cross. But the American's header was wide of the far post from ten yards out.
Santiago Hirsig was presented with a decent chance in the 13th minute, as he settled a ball from a Claudio Lopez corner at the far post. With no one immediately applying pressure to Hirsig, he let fly a powerful shot from inside the box, but Colorado 'keeper Preston Burpo parried it over the bar for a corner.
The first half saw few dangerous chances from either side, as most opportunities came from shots from distance. Omar Cummings had one of the better chances in the half for Colorado. The Jamaican striker worked some space for himself, cutting in from the right, before releasing a powerful left footed shot from the top of the box. City 'keeper Kevin Hartmad was equal to the shot, and pushed it out for a corner, which Colorado could not capitalize on.
The Wizards had a couple of chances in the space of a few minutes, thanks to their long ball strategy. Michael Harrington sent a lovely early cross in from the left looking for Josh Wolff at the far post, but the ball was just too far for Wolff to get a shot off.
Another long ball found Lopez at the top of the box in the 37th minute. With his natural left foot, Lopez controlled the ball, and hit it back towards his right side, before hitting a right-footed volley from the top of the box. Burpo was able to position himself to make the save, and there was no opportunity for a follow-up chance.
The last several minutes of the half were without any notable incidents. After just one minute of stoppage time, the teams went into halftime scoreless.
Opportunities in the second half were just as rare as in the first, as Colorado seemed content with the idea of earning a point on the road. Of the chances that were created in the second half, Kansas City had the better of the opportunities, as they looked to get a win that would keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Davy Arnaud had the first chance of the second half, as he had a good look from a header in the 53rd minute. Harrington sent in an inviting cross from the right, but Arnaud's header was just wide of the post, failing to properly test Burpo.
Minutes later, Lopez sent a cross into the box, with several City players lurking. The ball eventually bounced to Arnaud, but the American striker sent his volley just over the post
Wolff was forced off the field midway through the second half, after he caught an elbow from Scott Palguta on the nose. The medics were unable to stop the bleeding on the sidelines, and eventually, Zoltan Hercegfalvi came on to replace Wolff, the only substitution from either side on the night.
Kansas City captain Jimmy Conrad looked to have scored the winner in the 78th minute, but his header was denied by the post. Lopez took an in-swinging corner from the right, and found Conrad at the far post. But with Burpo beat, the post covered for him, and the chance was gone.
Casey had a chance at the other end minutes later, after he and Cummings exchanged a couple of passes around the box. Casey found a yard in the box to fire off a shot, but it was blocked before it even reached Hartman.
City had two more chances to win the game, but to their dismay, their efforts went without reward. Arnaud sent a bouncing cross into the box for Zoltan, but he poked his shot just wide of the far post. Arnaud went full stretch to get on the end of a cross in the third minute of stoppage time, but the ball was just out of reach of his outstretched leg, and the game ended just as it started, without any goals.
Steven Streff, Goal.com
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