Colorado newcomer Marco Pappa struck in the dying seconds to lift the Rapids to a 1-0 Major League Soccer victory over Los Angeles Galaxy, whose coach Bruce Arena was left fuming on Saturday.
The contest at a windswept DSG Park in Denver looked headed to a scoreless draw until Pappa, a 67th minute substitute, scored from close range in the fifth minute of injury time — Arena calling it “ridiculous” and “disgraceful” that so much injury time was added on.
“It was bad judgment by the referee and bad judgment by the fourth official not to question it,” Arena said. “That’s a 93-minute game at most.
“To lose in the 95th minute is a crime. It’s disgraceful.”
The Rapids’ Kevin Doyle had chipped a pass into the area and Galaxy defender Daniel Steres’ clearance attempt floated toward Pappa, who fired a left-footed volley under the crossbar.
Pappa, who was traded from the Seattle Sounders in the off-season and had to work his way back to fitness after he was stabbed in the side in December, was making his home debut for the Rapids.
His goal put an exclamation point on a match that often dragged. Colorado dominated possession in the first half but were unable to produce quality chances against a Galaxy team that seemed intent on slowing down the pace and could muster no attack after the interval.
Los Angeles’ best chance came when Belgian Jelle Van Damme, acquired in January from Standard Liege and making his MLS debut, hit the crossbar in the 29th minute.
“The conditions were hard for both teams,” Arena said. “The officiating was obviously very inconsistent, but neither team played particularly well. It’s still early in the year. The altitude is a challenge for both teams this time of year not only us but for Colorado as well.”
– Impact down NY Red Bulls –
The Montreal Impact again managed nicely without former Ivory Coast star striker Didier Drogba, scoring three second-half goals in a 3-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls.
Argentinian midfielder Ignacio Piatti scored his third goal of the young season as the Impact won their home opener at Olympic Stadium.
Dominic Oduro opened the scoring for the Impact in the 58th minute. Piatti scored in the 71st, and Anthony Jackson-Hamel added a goal in injury time.