Rapids U-16s defeat CASL Chelsea FC 2-1 in Academy Playoffs opener

Victor Rolph and Esdrel Peinado score late to win

The Colorado Rapids U-16 Development Academy team won their first match of the 2013 Development Academy Playoffs on Tuesday night, defeating CASL Chelsea FC Academy of North Carolina 2-1 at FC Dallas Sports Park in Frisco, Texas. Victor Rolph and Esdrel Peinado scored for the Rapids in the come-from-behind victory.

"I think we felt like the group was prepared, but we also knew that we opened the playoffs against an extremely talented and competitive team," said Rapids U-16 Head Coach Mitch Murray.

Early in the game, both teams had several chances but it was CASL who scored first on a corner kick in the 18th minute. They kept momentum for the remainder of the half, but did not increase their lead before halftime. In the second half, Bryce Montes played a ball to Rolph who did a step-over and fired the ball into the net from 18 yards out, tying the game up in the 70th minute (of the 80 minute game). In the final seconds of regulation, Peinado, who had subbed in just a couple minutes earlier struck a left-footed lazer to give the Rapids the lead and the victory.

"This was a very important first step," said Murray, "and we have another tough game tomorrow against Baltimore Bays to hopefully set us up to qualify for Finals Week."

The Rapids take on Baltimore Bays Chelsea on Wednesday at 6 p.m. MT (7 CT), and will play their third and final game of the Playoffs on Friday against Revolution Empire at 8 a.m. MT (9 CT). At the end of the three games, the winner of the group will qualify for 2013 Finals Week from July 14-20 in Houston, Texas, which features the top eight teams out of over 70 Development Academy programs across the country.

Rapids U-16 Lineup:
Hayden Davis; Enda O'Neill, Quentin Pearson, Kortne Thompson-Ford, Bryce Montes; Jovanni Chavez (Esdrel Peinado 76'), Victor Rolph, Dakota Peterson, Jacob Smits-Kagoshima; Hayden Heinrich (Daniel Jimenez 60'), Edward Venta-Yepes

Yesterday, the Rapids U-18s won their first game of the Development Academy Showcase 4-1 against Vardar SC Freiburg of Michigan. They'll play again tomorrow, taking on FC Delco (Pennsylvania) at 4 p.m. MT (5 CT).