The Colorado Rapids Under-18 Development Academy team fell 2-1 to the Colorado Rush on Sunday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, with former first-team midfielder Jamie Smith taking charge of his first game.
The U-18’s started the match with high energy and created several close chances. Towards the end of the first half, Daniel Jimenez had a chance to put his team up a goal when he received a cross from Bryce Montes in front of the goal, but he put the ball just high of the crossbar.
In the second half, the energy continued and within five minutes of the re-start the Rapids took the lead. Montes was involved once again, this time taking the chance himself with a shot from 20 yards out that kissed the underside of the crossbar as it went in. Later, a scramble in the penalty box with Rapids goalkeeper Charlie D’Adamio resulted in a Rush penalty kick to even the score. Rush then completed the comeback with five minutes remaining.
After the game, Smith commended the Rapids defense for solid performances, and mentioned that midfielders Enda O’Neill - the younger brother of first team defender Shane O’Neill - and Miles Chow had played particularly well. As for the coach, he admits it took him back to his playing days.
“Leading up to the game I was really excited about it,” Smith told ColoradoRapids.com. “It’s something similar to what you experience leading up to the first game of the season when you’re a player. I prepared similarly, and the first game was really enjoyable. I’m looking forward to the next game.”
The U-18s are back in action on Saturday March 1, taking on the Houston Dynamo in Texas.
In the meantime, Smith will travel to Casa Grande, Arizona this week to coach the U-14 squad at the U-15 invitational, a series of exhibition events which coincides with the Generation adidas Cup. The Rapids participated in the first of the two events in October, where they defeated Real Salt Lake 5-3, tied FC Dallas 0-0 and then ousted Chicago 2-0. This time around they will face FC Dallas on Friday (February 14), Toronto FC on Saturday and Real Salt Lake on Monday.
Colorado Rapids: Charles D’Adamio, Jovanni Chavez, Kortne Ford, Quentin Pearson, Enda O’Neill, Miles Chow, Dakota Peterson (Victor Rolphe 50’), Jacob Hanlin, Daniel Jimenez, Isaac Martinez