Just seconds after the Colorado Rapids allowed an equalizer, Nicolas Mezquida's quick-response goal put the Rapids ahead for good in a 3-1 victory over visiting FC Cincinnati on Saturday.
Kekuta Manneh's second goal of the season brought Cincinnati level in the 72nd minute, tying the score on the expansion side's first shot on target of the match. A long pass from Roland Lamah allowed Manneh to split two Colorado defenders and convert the finish.
Under a minute later, however, the Rapids went back on top. Diego Rubio made a nice move to create space for a pass to Mezquida on the near side of the box, and Mezquida then perhaps got a bit lucky on a fairly pedestrian shot that Cincinnati goalkeeper Spencer Richey touched but couldn't stop.
Both Mezquida and Rubio came off the bench to score in the final 17 minutes, sparking a Colorado attack that had been short on true chances, aside from Andre Shinyashiki's goal in the 43rd minute.
This same "better late than never" performance could also describe the team as a whole in recent weeks. The Rapids are now unbeaten (3-0-1) in their last four games after going winless in their first 11 matches of the season.
The victory brings Colorado (3-9-3, 12 points) off the bottom of the league table, relegating Cincinnati to last place overall. FC Cincinnati lost for the ninth time in its last 11 games (1-9-1).
Despite keeping possession for 60 percent of the game, Cincinnati again struggled to generate offense apart from Manneh's goal. Through 15 games, FC Cincinnati (3-10-2, 11 points) has scored only 12 goals, the fewest of any club this season.
Allan Cruz returned to Cincinnati's starting lineup after a two-game absence due to an ankle injury. Corben Bone entered as a substitute in the 60th minute, seeing his first action after missing FC Cincinnati's previous 10 games with a shoulder injury.
Rapids defender Deklan Wynne made an early exit from the match due to an apparent lower-leg injury in the 17th minute.