COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Sunday, February 2, 2014) – The Rapids earned a 3-2 victory in the team's first preseason match, scoring late to top the Houston Dynamo at the Houston Sports Park. In a match of three 30-minute sessions, Colorado got a goal in each period to start the preseason on a high note with goals from Dillon Serna, Deshorn Brown and Gabriel Torres.
Several Rapids newcomers also made a big impact, with strong games from Marlon Hairston, Jared Watts, and Grant Van De Casteele, but Dillon Serna stood out in his 60 minutes.
The second-year attacking midfielder started on the left wing in a 4-2-3-1 formation, creating several chances moving forward and winning tackles tracking back. In the 12th minute, the Brighton native took the ball into the attacking third and played a give-and-go with Chris Klute to get behind the defense before finishing high into the top corner for a 1-0 lead.
Houston struck back soon after, and it was actually a Rapids player that scored the goal. After a Colorado turnover, the ball came to Tony Cascio, on loan to Houston from the Rapids for the year, whose deflected shot left Colorado goalkeeper Joe Nasco with no chance. The Dynamo scored again in minute 38, when Houston forward Giles Barnes got behind the Rapids defense, knocking down Tolani Ibikunle with the referee allowing play to continue. The English striker scored to the near post past Nasco for a 2-1 Dynamo advantage.
Colorado came back to tie it in the 47th minute, with 2013 leading scorer Deshorn Brown getting his first of the new year. Marlon Hairston, who had come onto the field less than a minute earlier, picked up the ball in midfield and threaded a through ball behind the defense to Brown, who finished low for the equalizer.
While the Dynamo had a good deal of possession and chances in the second 30, the Rapids took control in the final session. Vicente Sánchez, Charles Eloundou and Gabriel Torres were combining well up top, and they got their reward with just five minutes to go. A quick counterattack saw those three players running at one Houston defender, with the ball at Eloundou's feet. The Cameroonian then played Torres at the top of the 18, and a curled shot to the top corner gave the Rapids the win.
Several Rapids youngsters stood out in the match. In addition to Serna, the SuperDraft picks Hairston, Van De Casteele, Watts, Ibikunle and Edward all put in solid shifts. Goalkeeper John Berner, another SuperDraft selection, kept a clean sheet in the 30 minutes he played. Colorado continues training in Houston through Friday, February 7, and will play an additional preseason scrimmage on Thursday against Houston Baptist University.
The Rapids season starts on March 15 at New York Red Bulls, with the Home Opener at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park against the Portland Timbers on March 22.
HOUSTON DYNAMO 2:3 COLORADO RAPIDS
Preseason friendly – Houston Sports Park, Houston, Tex.
COL – Dillon Serna (Chris Klute) 12’
HOU – Tony Cascio 16’
HOU – Giles Barnes 38’
COL – Deshorn Brown (Marlon Hairston) 47’
COL – Gabriel Torres (Charles Eloundou) 86’
First 30 Minutes (4-2-3-1): Joe Nasco; Albert Edward, Grant Van De Casteele, Drew Moor, Chris Klute; Juan Guzman, Samuel Galindo; Marvin Chavez, Kamani Hill, Dillon Serna; Edson Buddle
Second 30 Minutes (4-2-3-1): Joe Nasco; Albert Edward, Grant Van De Casteele (Jared Watts 46’), Tolani Ibikunle, Kory Kindle; Reuben Ayarna, Samuel Galindo (Marlon Hairston 46’); Charles Eloundou, Samuel Galindo, Dillon Serna; Deshorn Brown
Third 30 Minutes (4-2-3-1): John Berner; Marvell Wynne, Jared Watts, Tolani Ibikunle, Marc Burch; Nathan Sturgis, Marlon Hairston; Vicente Sánchez, Nick LaBrocca, Charles Eloundou; Gabriel Torres