By JOEY SAMUEL
Just when the Colorado Rapids needed a win the most to hold serve in the Western Conference playoff race, they came up short once again.
Despite a late goal off a corner kick from defender Drew Moor, the Rapids' winless streak was stretched to five games as they tied the San Jose Earthquakes, 1-1, in front of their home fans. Chris Wondolowski scored the goal for the Earthquakes when he pounced on the rebound of Khari Stephenson's long-distance shot.
Coming into the game having lost three straight games in league play and two more in the CONCACAF Champions League, Colorado was in desperate need of three points to hold on to one of the four wild card playoff spots. But even despite that sense of urgency and the return of midfielder Jamie Smith, the Rapids put on a mostly lackluster performance that left them vulnerable to being passed by in the standings.
Neither team came out strong and there was hardly a chance at either end of the pitch for the first quarter of an hour. But that all changed when San Jose's Khari Stephenson attempted one of his trademark long-range shots. Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens managed to save it, but Chris Wondolowski was there to finish the rebound for his tenth goal of the season.
The Rapids failed to respond well to the goal, and it was an uneventful rest of the first half, save for a few half-chances. In the second half, Colorado coach Gary Smith made a few changes in an attempt to breathe life into his team. Brian Mullan came in for Jamie Smith, and Macoumba Kandji entered for Omar Cummings.
Those changes appeared to work, as the Rapids would find an equalizer soon after. Jeff Larentowicz connected on a volley off a corner kick in the 70th minute, but it was deflected away. It fell to central defender Drew Moor, who slotted it past Jon Busch to make it 1-1.
Both teams then appeared to wake up, and at the end it seemed like one team would find a winner. Colorado had the best chances late as both Mac Kandji and Caleb Folan had attempts on goal saved by Busch, but they failed to find the winner that they so desperately needed as the match ended at 1-1.
In the end, Colorado were left wondering how they missed a great opportunity at home to solidify their spot in the playoff race. Wins by D.C. United and New York on Saturday made the Rapids' situation even more precarious, as the Rapids have played more games than the teams below them. San Jose, on the other hand, blew what might have been one last chance to save their season.