In what was legendary goalkeeper Tim Howard’s final game at Red Bull Arena, the Colorado Rapids completed a decisive 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls Saturday night. Forward Jonathan Lewis, the man responsible for the two goals, helped make Howard’s return to his hometown state a successful one and give Colorado their first win in New Jersey.
The North Brunswick native started his career with the Red Bulls, when they were formerly known as the MetroStars. From 1998-2003, he played his football in New Jersey before making a move to England. After stints with Manchester United and Everton, where he earned the reputation as a top tier goalkeeper, he returned to the MLS by signing with Colorado in 2016. The former USMNT goalkeeper announced he will be retiring at the end of this current season.
As it turned out, one of the Red Bulls’ best opportunities to put one past Howard led directly to the Rapids scoring the first goal. Coming off a free kick in the 13’, the Red Bulls worked the ball around before finding the forehead of Bradley Wright-Phillips. After bouncing harmlessly off the woodwork, and while Wright-Phillips was down dazed and confused, Jonathan Lewis singlehandedly worked the ball toward the Red Bulls net. Catching Marc Rzatkowski on the wrong foot and outrunning Kaku, who was sprinting back to defend, Lewis chipped a clever ball over Luis Robles in goal and gave Colorado the 1-0 lead.
The Rapids final goal came in the dying embers of the match. Colorado had been working the ball around well all night and had a few golden opportunities to score on multiple occasions, requiring a few challenging saves from Luis Robles. In the 87th minute, Lewis finally got the better of him as he curled one in from just inside the penalty box past Robles and Tim Parker.
The goals were Lewis’ fourth and fifth of the season and gave the Rapids the 2-0 victory after a slew of missed opportunities from New York. Parker, Royer and Kaku all had chances to put New York on the board but whether it was from saves by Howard or missing just wide, they could not find the back of the net.
Howard finished the game with three saves, while his counterpart, Robles, finished with four. Without Robles, this match could have easily been much more one sided. The shutout was Howard’s fourth of the season and helped put the brakes on Colorado’s three-game winless run.
The Red Bulls still currently hold the fifth spot in the East with 41 points, but have fallen to 1-3-1 in their last five games. They will now travel out west to complete back-to-back fixtures against Seattle and Portland. With five games left to play in the MLS season, every game now has severe implications heading into the playoffs.