In their third and final game of The Desert Friendlies presented by FC Tucson, the Rapids pulled out a 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes off of a goal from Jamie Smith, making his first appearance of the 2013 preseason.
Colorado, who struggled in their first two matches of the year – falling 3-1 to the Portland Timbers on Tuesday and 1-0 to the Houston Dynamo on Thursday – started the match strong with several dangerous attempts at goal in the first half. The closest chance came in the 17th minute when Deshorn Brown, the Rapids’ 6th overall MLS SuperDraft pick, got on the end of a Kamani Hill cross, but mis-aimed his header just to the left of the goalpost. Tony Cascio, a 2012 SuperDraft pick, also had a chance in the 27th minute, ripping a left-footed strike under pressure from the top of the box.
The teams entered halftime scoreless, and the Rapids defense were able to limit the forward movement of the Earthquakes to only a handful of scoring opportunities, which were all handled by goalkeeper Matt Pickens and later Steward Ceus. With another full lineup change to start the second half, the Rapids found the scoring combination in Andre Akpan and Smith.
In the 65th minute, defender and SuperDraft selection Chris Klute carried the ball down the left flank finding the feet of forward Andre Akpan. After taking a few touches forward, Akpan served a low driven cross that an on-running Smith calmly one-touched into the net. Smith, who played 56 games for the Rapids over the past four seasons, did not have his option picked up following the 2012 campaign but has been training with the team throughout preseason.
The Rapids played out the final 25 minutes of the game to hold on to the 1-0 lead and their first victory of 2013. The squad will return to Denver on Sunday and train for a week in Commerce City before heading to Las Vegas to take on UNLV on Feb. 14 and Chivas USA, part of the Las Vegas ProSoccer Challenge on Feb.15.
COLORADO RAPIDS 1:0 SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
February 2, 2013 – Kino Sports Complex, Tucson, Arizona
COL – Jamie Smith (Andre Akpan) 65’
Colorado Rapids lineup: Matt Pickens (Steward Ceus 46); Marvell Wynne (Brian Mullan 46), Drew Moor (Brenton Griffiths 46), Diego Calderón (Marcello Castro 46), Chris Klute; Hendry Thomas (Nathan Sturgis 46), Pablo Mastroeni (Dillon Powers 46), Kamani Hill (Nick LaBrocca 46); Atiba Harris (Jamie Smith 46), Deshorn Brown (Andre Akpan 46), Tony Cascio (Dillon Serna 46, Cesar Romero 79)
San Jose Earthquakes lineup: David Bingham (Evan Newton 46), Peter McGlynn (Bryan Jordan 46), Tommy Muller (Brad Ring 46), Ty Harden (Josh Suggs 46), Henrik Robstad (Coiin Mitchell 46), Shea Salinas (Sam Garza 46), Abu Tommy (Jacob Hustedt 46), Sam Cronin (Sean de Silva 46), Rafael Baca (Donny Toia 46), Alexandre Gonzalez Emerson (Lamin Suma 46), Adam Jahn (Matt Fondy 46).
COL – Brenton Griffiths (caution) 83’