The Union lost for the first time in 2018 on Saturday night, falling to the Colorado Rapids, 3-0, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park outside Denver.
Dominique Badji scored all of the goals, in the 53rd, 61st and 87th minutes.
The Union (1-1-1, 4 points) were the better team in a scoreless first half, but Colorado (1-1-1, 4 points) had the best chance in the 44th minute. Andre Blake had to make a diving save to deny Tommy Smith’s flying header off Jack Price’s corner kick. The rebound fell to Enzo Martinez, and his shot from close range was blocked by Union left back Matt Real on the goal line.
That was Real’s biggest contribution in his first MLS game.
Colorado showed much more attacking spirit after halftime. Their first reward came in the 52nd minute, when Auston Trusty fouled Badji just outside the 18-yard box. The ensuing free kick was deflected out for a corner kick, and that service was redirected home from just off the goal line by Badji. It was the first goal the Union conceded this season, ending their shutout streak at 213 minutes.
In the 60th minute, it seemed that the Union might have gotten a bit of good luck when Rapids speedster Marlon Hairston had to leave the game with an injury. But just a moment later, the player who replaced him, Dillon Serna, helped create the second goal. He and Badji combined to set up Johan Blomberg for a shot that was blocked back to Badji by Jack Elliott. The finish was easy from there.
With the Union’s defense pressing high late in search of a goal, Badji had even more space to operate. He finished his hat trick on a late-game breakaway, turning Elliott inside-out and beating Blake to the far post.