The Colorado Rapids Development Academy Under-16s may be completely different from last year's team that finished third in the country, but they started off just as hot by winning and tying their first two matches without conceding a goal in first weekend of the 2013-2014 season of U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
On Friday the U16s defeated the San Antonio Scorpions 5-0 and then held Lonestar SC, from Austin, Texas, to a scoreless draw Sunday afternoon. Both matches were at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
"Friday was quite impressive," Mitch Murray, U16s head coach, told ColoradoRapids.com. "The boys played really hard and really did a good job getting on the ball and moving it, and creating chances and scoring goals. What was impressive is that we had five different players score."
Nathan Braaten put Colorado up in just the 7th minute off when he finished a great chip from Nicolas Porter (watch above), and Mile Chow made it 2-0 two minutes later after heading in a corner kick. Porter made it 3-0 after halftime and JT Grover increased the lead with a curling shot to the upper corner from the left side. Chris Reichman closed out the scoring in the 78th when he headed in a free kick from Sammy Vines at the near post.
Rapids U-16s vs San Antonio: Tucker Schneider, Nathan Braaten (Antonio Rosales 65), Miles Chow, Kyle Ericson (Greer Solarte 61), Elias Helbig (Blake Moncur 60), William Herzl, Elijah Mwenebitu, Nicolas Porter, Samuel Raben, Christopher Reichman, Anthony Rosales (JT Grover 26)
COL - Nathan Braaten 7'
COL - Miles Chow 9'
COL - Nicolas Porter 57'
COL - JT Grover 70'
COL - Christopher Reichman 78'
Sunday's match saw the effects of a game two days earlier as the Rapids could not get going in the scoreless tie against Lonestar SC.
"I felt that we still lack proper fitness, which isn't surprising since we've had such a disruptive training schedule the last couple of weeks because of the rain," Murray said. "And I think it showed the players hadn't recovered completely from Friday's game. The energy and the sharpness wasn't quite the same (as Friday). Also, Lonestar's defense is quite strong - they've played three games now and have yet to concede a goal."
The match was pretty even, with Colorado perhaps getting the better chances, although limited. Nathan Braaten had the most dangerous chance in the second half but Lonestar's goalkeeper was up to the task and made a fantastic save.
"Overall is was more of a midfield battle and I think both defenses did a good job of shutting down the other team," Murray added. "It's encouraging in that we have yet to concede a goal, as well, but we still need work in our final third to be able to create good chances against strong defenses."
Rapids U-16s vs Lonestar: Conor Gavigan, Kyle Ericson (Ernesto Rangel 48), William Herzl, Samuel Raben, Nathan Braaten, Greer Solarte (Elijah Mwenebitu 55), Antonio Rosales (Nicolas Porter 41), Christopher Reichman, Blake Moncur (Samuel Vines 63), Miles Chow, JT Grover(Elias Helbig 63)