COMMERCE CITY — The Colorado Rapids were hoping to end their scoring rut against Charlotte FC, an MLS expansion side, Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Instead, it was the other end of the pitch that helped preserve a point.
Goalkeeper William Yarbrough made five crucial saves to secure a 0-0 draw that saw Colorado fail to get a single shot on target. The loudest shout of the night came after the game as new forward Gyasi Zardes went to C38 to thank Rapids supporters after his franchise debut.
Colorado (2-3-3, 9 points) had a strong opening 15 minutes with three corner kicks, and Diego Rubio had the first true chance of the game nine minutes in — a shot from the right side that hit the cross bar.
Not long after, he hit the woodwork once more in the 25th minute off a cross from Andre Shinyashiki, marking the fourth time in his last two games the forward had a shot hit the frame.
Rubio was left stunned for a moment at yet another near miss, unable to add one more tally to the four he scored in his previous seven games.
Charlotte had a few decent looks on goal as Designated Player Karol Swiderski took one of two two shots on goal. His attempt in the 21st minute was too far out to cause Yarbrough concern, while he nearly got on the end of a cross before Yarbrough came in to corral it.
In the 40th minute, Rapids captain Jack Price lunged for a 50/50 ball and went down. He tried to play it out, but in the 43rd minute, he went down again. This time, he had to be substituted out. He passed the captaincy armband to Lalas Abubakar, who passed it to Yarbrough. Collen Warner replaced Price, who walked off under his own power.
In the second half, Charlotte created the better opportunities early on. In the 49th minute, Yarbrough made a trifecta of saves to keep the scored tied. He first denied Jordy Alcívar as he rushed on, and then stopped Swiderski with a diving stop. Swiderski had one last look but his shot sailed high and Charlotte’s most dangerous moment passed.
Rubio had a pair of crosses in the 55th minute, but both were grabbed by Charlotte goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina.
The highlight of the night, however, came on the hour mark. With Colorado lacking true chances and looking a bit lost on the attack, head coach Robin Fraser decided to bring on Zardes, acquired just the day before in a trade with Columbus.
“I know him, I respect him a lot and he’s a great player,” Diego Rubio said of Zardes following the match.
Zardes ignited the crowd, as he subbed in with Lucas Esteves and Jonathan Lewis. He had a few early touches as he played at the top of the 3-4-3 shape, but only produced a few half-hearted scoring chances.
Yarbrough had one more action to make as he denied McKinze Gaines on a one-on-one opportunity in stoppage time. On the Rapids’ attacking end, Esteves fired a shot high.
The last time Colorado scored two goals was over one month ago, March 12, the team’s last win over Sporting Kansas City.
The good news is Colorado set a new club-record with 20 games unbeaten at home.
The Rapids will have another chance to get in the win column next week at home against the Portland Timbers.