Julian Carranza's early second-half goal proved to be the winning one as the Philadelphia Union came from behind to end the Colorado Rapids' nine-game unbeaten run.
Colorado took the lead in the 38th minute after they were awarded a penalty. Damion Lowe was judged to have fouled Diego Rubio, but just outside the penalty area. Following a VAR review, the foul occurred inside the box, and a penalty was awarded. Connor Ronan took the spot kick and blasted the ball into the top left corner, leaving Andre Blake helpless despite diving the right way.
Kai Wagner equalised during first-half stoppage time with an emphatic strike. Ale Bedoya brought the ball inside before passing it to Julian Carranza, who laid it off for the left-back to shoot goalward. Wagner struck it first-time with plenty of venom as it flew into the back of the net and beyond William Yarbrough.
Seven minutes into the second half, Carranza gave Philadelphia the lead. Jack McGlynn played a smart ball for Olivier Mbaizo to run onto. The wing-back brought the ball forward before cutting it back for Carranza to shoot first time. Yarbrough got two hands onto the effort, but it was not enough as the Argentine's shot found the bottom corner.
With Philadelphia closing the game out, chaos ensued in the final seconds of added time when Michael Barrios shoved Blake towards the advertising hoardings as the goalkeeper shielded the ball out of play. It caused a melee between both teams, which resulted in red cards for Braian Galvan and Jesus Bueno, two players that had entered the game as substitutes.
The Philadelphia Union travelled out west to Colorado following their gut-wrenching penalty shootout defeat against Minnesota in midweek. Ale Bedoya returned to the starting XI, as did Jack Elliott, with Jim Curtin opting to start the game with three central defenders.
Olivier Mbaizo and Kai Wagner started at wing-back, while Mikael Uhre missed out due to a knee injury.
Kevin Cabral had the first opportunity of the game when he forced Andre Blake into a save. Diego Rubio decided to try his luck from outside the penalty area, but his shot took a deflection off Jakob Glesnes before trickling into Cabral's path. The forward directed a low-driven effort goalward, but Blake did well to get down and push the ball away from the goal with a solid hand.
Julian Carranza put the ball into the back of the net in the 12th minute, but it did not count after the ball went out of play for a corner as Damion Lowe tried to pull the ball back across the face of the goal. From the resulting corner, the Union had the ball in the back of the net again. However, it would not count due to a foul in the penalty area, as the ball was played into the box.
In the 16th minute, Carranza had a golden chance to give Philadelphia the lead. He was played through on goal after timing his run perfectly, getting in behind the Colorado defense. The Argentine forward rounded William Yarbrough before shooting with his left foot. He could not hit the target though, as his attempt went wide of the goal at the near post.
In the 37th minute, the referee awarded the Rapids a penalty following a VAR review. Lowe fouled Rubio, and the official initially felt it was just outside the penalty area. However, he was then called to look at the incident by VAR, and after a second look, he awarded the spot kick.
Connor Ronan stepped up to take the penalty and found the back of the net as he smashed his spot kick into the top left corner, leaving Blake with no chance of keeping it out despite guessing the right way.
During first-half stoppage time, Wagner brought Philadelphia back level. Ale Bedoya took the ball inside and played it to Carranza, who then laid the ball back for Wagner to strike it first time. The left back's strike was a powerful one, as it rifled into the right corner of the net, leaving Yarbrough with little chance of making the save.
The Union ended the half strong as Jack McGlynn had two good opportunities. The first came when the midfielder opted to try his luck from 25 yards. He struck it goalward, and the ball took a deflection after Yarbrough had already committed. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, it went wide of the post.
Moments later, McGlynn was denied by a headed clearance. Wagner played a corner towards McGlynn on the edge of the penalty area before he brought the ball onto his left foot and bent the ball towards the far corner. It seemed that it would be causing Yarbrough issues, but Lalas Abubakar was on hand to get his head in the way to head it clear.
HALF-TIME: Colorado Rapids 1-1 Philadelphia Union
Carranza gave Philadelphia the lead in the 52nd minute. McGlynn switched the ball towards the right for Mbaizo, who brought it forward before cutting it back for Carranza. The 22-year-old then fired a first-time effort towards the far corner, and it was too powerful for Yarbrough to keep out as he could only push it into the back of the net. There was a short VAR review, but after a short break, the goal was confirmed.
Abubakar came close to bringing Colorado level when Ronan curled a corner deep towards the defender, who then headed goalward. It was a high and looping attempt as it was seemingly going to clear the goal, but it landed on top of the crossbar before bouncing out of play for a goal kick.
Just after the hour, Blake was called into action twice to deny Rubio and Jonathan Lewis. The Rapids caught the Union on the counter, and Rubio struck a powerful low-driven effort goalward from distance. Blake got down to the attempt and got two solid hands on the ball to palm it away. The rebound came to Morris, whose shot was too central and down the throat of Blake, who gathered the ball at the second attempt.
Heading towards stoppage time, Colorado came a touch away from equalising. The ball was played to Braian Galvan down the left inside the penalty area, and he flashed the ball across the face of the goal. Danny Wilson and Lewis were both closing in to try and get the crucial touch to send it goalward. Fortunately for the Union, it evaded everybody before going out of play.
In the final moments of the game, tempers flared when Michael Barrios shoved Blake towards the advertising hoardings when the goalkeeper shielded the ball out of play for a goal kick. It caused a melee between both sides, with all 22 players seemingly getting involved. When the dust settled, and the ruckus had dispersed, the referee gave multiple players yellow cards before showing Galvan a red.
In the 14th minute of stoppage time, Jesus Bueno was shown a red card for his part in the chaos. The referee was called over to VAR to rewatch the melee and after much deliberation, sent off Bueno, who had replaced Bedoya during stoppage time.
FULL-TIME: Colorado Rapids 1-2 Philadelphia Union
Colorado Rapids: Yarbrough, Abubakar (Acosta 72'), Maxso, Wilson, Nicholson (Priso 81'), Ronan, Leyva (Bombito 81), Markanich (Galvan 58'), Rubio, Lewis, Cabral (Barrios 72')
Unused Substitutes: Ilic, Anderson, Edwards, Hanya
Philadelphia Union: Blake, Glesnes, Elliott, Lowe, Mbaizo (Harriel 90'), Bedoya (Bueno 90'), Flach, McGlynn (Real 83'), Wagner, Gazdag, Carranza (Donovan 83')
Unused Substitutes: Bendick, Odada, Perea, Raffanello, Torres