Minnesota United shifted its shape, but not its fortunes in Saturday's 3-2 loss at Colorado.
Leading 2-0 at halftime, the Loons allowed three unanswered second-half goals at altitude and in the rain to start the season 0-4.
The same team that reached last season's Western Conference final remains the only MLS team without a point earned yet this season.
They did so after coach Adrian Heath adjusted his lineup and formation, switching to a 4-3-3 that put star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso, Robin Lod and Hassani Dotson together successfully, at least for a half. It also put veterans Jan Gregus, Wil Trapp and Ozzie Alonso together in a three-man central midfield.
"Very disappointed," Gregus said when asked about the locker-room scene after Saturday's collapse. "Everybody here wants to win. The expectations we had before the season is now completely opposite. We are last. We didn't win one game. It's very bad. We didn't expect this, but we have to break it with the following game because this is unacceptable.
Reynoso's gorgeous, curling free kick from 30 yards away in the 17th minute and Dotson's shot into an open goal in the 24th minute gave the Loons a 2-0 lead they nurtured until halftime.
It was also the first all season that they held a lead.
Then the Rapids scored three times in 25 minutes after halftime, starting with Kellyn Acosta's powerful 24-yard volley after the Loons had tried a third and final time to clear the ball from danger in the 57th minute.
Cole Bassett followed with the tying goal in the 71st minute, after he swept in a ball that Loons goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair stopped but couldn't contain.
Danny Wilson rose above everybody and scored the winning goal with a header off a long free kick in the 82nd minute. His goal came after Heath subbed Brent Kallman for Reynoso so the Loons would have a fifth backline defender.
"At that stage, I thought we were going to lose the game, which we did," Heath said. "I wanted to get another defender on. They were getting a lot of balls in the box. I thought an extra body might help us. It wasn't to be."
Until Saturday, the Loons had been outscored 7-1 in their first three games and hadn't held a lead for even a mere moment.
The Loons made it to halftime leading by that two goal margin, but the Rapids started the second half by applying mounting pressure that paid off after just seven minutes gone.
"I'm at a loss at the moment to decipher why we played like we did in the first half and then everything we spoke about at halftime we didn't do after," Heath said. "We played back when we should have played forward. We just made too many poor choices. At this point, poor choices are really affecting us."
After that 0-3 season start, Heath shook up his starting 11 and his team's shape, shifting it to a new formation.
He did so by starting Reynoso, attacking midfielder Robin Lod and Dotson up top in a three-man unit designed to interchange positions and create scoring chances for a team that was outscored 7-1 in first three games.
Lod returned to the lineup after he missed last week's 1-0 loss to expansion Austin F.C. because of a chest injury and assisted on Dotson's goal with an unselfish pass.
The Loons now have allowed seven goals in two road games, at Seattle in the season opener and Saturday in Denver.
"Everybody is ridiculously disappointed," Heath said. "It's not a pleasurable place to be, in a locker room after you've thrown away a game like we have tonight. Obviously, some strong words were said, but it's all by-the-by. We have a chance to do our talking on the field."
Heath was asked if he ever could have dreamed his team would start the season 0-4.
"No, but it's the harsh realities if you defend like we have going on the road giving up seven goals," he said. "The irony is the first half is probably the best we've played."
The Star Tribune did not travel for this game. This article was written using the television broadcast and video interviews before and/or after the game.