Technically, the Union's 4-1 loss at Colorado did not eliminate the club from the playoffs.
But for all intents and purposes, whatever slim hopes existed coming into the night should be put to rest now. Facing a Rapids team that is playing some of the best soccer in MLS right now, the Union were pretty well run over by Colorado's speedy forwards.
Omar Cummings opened the scoring with a pair of goals in the first 15 minutes of play. The first came in the eighth minute. Danny Califf and Sheanon Williams allowed Cummings to get open at the top of the box, and Cummings easily slotted a pass from Macoumba Kandji past Brad Knighton.
The second goal came just seven minutes later. Jamie Smith swung in a corner, and Amobi Okugo misjudged both the ball and Cummings.
Peter Nowak was clearly upset at halftime, and expressed his frustration by using all three substitutions at once. Kyle Nakazawa replaced Fred, who didn't see much of the ball in the first half. The other two subs were surprising: Jack McInerney for Justin Mapp and Andrew Jacobson for Stefani Miglioranzi.
Alas, the subs didn't really help. Cummings continued to race through the Union's defense, and drew a foul from Jordan Harvey about 35 yards out in the 68th minute. Pablo Mastroeni hammered a free kick straight at Brad Knighton, who couldn't control the shot. Wells Thompson cleaned up the rebound to make it 3-0.
Cummings finally departed in the 75th minute, with Quincy Amarikwa replacing him. Although the leading actor's night was over, Amarikwa played the role of understudy quite well. Not long after coming into the game, Amarikwa raced down the left side and got open for a shot that was saved by Knighton.
Amarikwa then got a goal of his own in the 86th minute. Kandji made a run down the right side, and was so open that he had time to look at the linesman to see if Amarikwa was onside. The flag stayed down, and Kandji made a simple pass that was finished just as easily.
The Union finally got a consolation goal with its first real chance of the night. Andrew Jacobson put in a cross from the right side, and Rapids defender Drew Moore slipped as he tried to clear the ball. Jack McInerney pounced right away, and hit a pretty first-time volley past Matt Pickens.
McInerney's goal snapped the Rapids' shutout streak, but Colorado extended its home winning streak to five games. The last four of those wins have come by three goals each.
If there was one down side to this game for the Rapids, it was that Dick's Sporting Goods Park looked virtually empty on the TV broadcast. The announced attendance figure of 10,165 was certainly generous.
The Union don't have much time to get ready for their next game, against Houston on Saturday at PPL Park. Although the Dynamo are also effectively out of the playoff race, they will come to Chester with some confidence after beating D.C. United on the road, 3-1.
If you didn't get to watch last night's game, the video highlights and lowlights are below. There's also the transcript of my live blog.
Game 26: Philadelphia Union at Colorado Rapids
Technically, the Union's 4-1 loss at Colorado did not eliminate the club from the playoffs. But for all intents and purposes, whatever slim hopes existed coming into the night should be put to rest now.