COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) — After an ugly first half, the Colorado Rapids broke intensified their pressure after the break and quickly broke through.
Nathan Sturgis scored in the 47th minute and Clint Irwin got his sixth shutout of the season to lift the Rapids to a 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls on Thursday night.
“It was only a matter of time,” Sturgis said. “We came out with energy, got some good bounces and got some opportunities.
“We did get a few lucky bounces in that sequence.”
Deshorn Brown also scored for Colorado (7-7-5), which last lost at home to New York on July 8, 2007 — improving to 4-0-1 since.
New York (8-7-4) was shut out for the fifth time this season. The Red Bulls are 2-3-1 in their last six games while getting outscored 9-6 in that stretch.
“I felt it had been ugly for large chunks for both teams,” New York coach Mike Petke said. “It wasn’t the prettiest game.”
The Rapids went right after Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles to start the second half.
“We didn’t have a lot of space in the first half,” Colorado coach Oscar Pareja said. “In the second we were able to spread the ball out more and that spread them out and got them a little tired.”
Colorado pressured from the start of the half and had two other shots directed at the goal. Edson Buddle’s shot was blocked by several players, run down Dillon Powers and had his shot kicked away by New York defender Markus Holgersson, who was standing in the crease.
Sturgis ran down the rebounded ball and deposited it past Robles. It was Sturgis’ fourth goal of the season.
“To give up that early goal was a killer,” Petke said. “To not be able to clear the ball and to not stay with our marks throughout it until it finished was a killer.”
Christopher Klute set up Brown with a perfectly timed cross in the 68th minute. Brown was waiting by the right post and connected.
The defenses controlled play, limiting the number of chances, in the first half.
The Rapids were awarded a free kick when Klute was tripped up just outside the box. But Sturgis sent the free kick well over the cross bar in the 14th minute.
Connor Lade broke free between two defenders to get a clean shot off but pushed it wide of the right post in the 23rd minute.
Sturgis created his own chance with a move to the middle. He got a slow kick off that required a diving save by Robles in the 37th minute.
“Going into the had at least three opportunities the first half,” said Petke. “We just didn’t capitalize on.”
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.