COMMERCE CITY — The Colorado Rapids missed another opportunity to earn three points at home against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday night after finishing in a 1-1 draw.
It was the third-straight draw for a Rapids team trying to gain ground in the race for first place in the Western Conference. They now remain unbeaten over the last 10 games, the longest active streak in MLS.
Here are three takeaways from the draw at home:
Draws are fine until they’re not
One point is better than no points. There’s no debating that, but at some point the draws add up and had the Rapids found a way to win one of the last three games, they would be sitting in first place in the Western Conference.
Head coach Robin Fraser won’t classify it as a drop in form but pointed at the difficulties of staying consistent throughout the entirety of the season.
“I’ve never seen a team be really successful where everything just goes on a positive trajectory the whole season,” Fraser said. “So I look at this and go we have to get better at certain things, but while we’re learning these lessons we’re still acquiring points, not as many as we want to be, but we’re still acquiring points.”
Fraser is not disappointed in the results but rather the way they’ve lost the lead in the last three games, mental lapses that add up.
“We’re doing a lot of things really well,” Fraser said. “And we’ve had a few breakdowns that have led to goals against us. So I would much rather be in that position than we’re scrambling, we can’t create chances, we can’t create goals and we just manufacture something at the end to eek out a tie.”
The glass-half-full view is the Rapids haven’t played their best over the last couple of weeks and have still found ways to come away with points.
Set Piece Kings
It’s a narrative that has surrounded this team over the last few seasons and remains true. The Rapids are excellent at set pieces, and that lifted them again Sunday night.
The Rapids’ lone goal came from a free kick — a perfectly placed ball from captain Jack Price and rocket header from Danny Wilson. They are tied for fourth in MLS in set piece goals on the season.
That was Price’s ninth assist of the season, extending his Rapids’ lead in assists to five.
When asked, everybody on the Rapids points toward assistant coach Chris Sharpe as the reason the Burgundy Boys have been so successful at set pieces.
“All credit to (Sharpe), he’s the one that sets those plays up and we just do it,” Andre Shinyashiki said. “We just do what we’re told and we were fortunate enough for it to work out.”
Namli, Rubio provide boost
Younes Namli had not appeared in a game since May 8 before coming on as a substitute Sunday night.
Although there was some rust, it was clear why he’s so well-regarded around the Rapids organization. He was a threat on the ball and took four shots in 25 minutes of game action.
“I thought Younes had some really good moments but there were times when you can tell he hasn’t played in a while,” Fraser said. “And he’s only going to get better and sharper but certainly provided some good moments, and it’s exciting to have him back and to see some of the things that he can do.”
Diego Rubio also returned from injury after being sidelined for a month. He is second on the team in goals on the season and is automatically in the Rapids’ best XI when fit.
Keeping both players healthy during the season’s stretch run could be critical in maintaining the club’s MLS Cup hopes.