LAS VEGAS - The Colorado Rapids kept their undefeated preseason rolling on Friday afternoon with a 2-0 win over UNLV, with second-half goals from Marvin Chavez and Vicente Sanchez making the difference.
SuperDraft selection John Berner kept a clean sheet for Colorado, who improved to 3-0 on the preseason ahead of Sunday's Las Vegas ProSoccer Challenge against Chivas USA.
In a scoreless first half, the Rapids held the bulk of possession but struggled to find the final pass to get behind the UNLV defense. A pair of solid chances fell to Chavez, who played on the right wing in the 4-2-3-1 formation, but both were blocked by the UNLV defense.
The best Colorado chance came to Gabriel Torres, who was played behind the defense by Samuel Galindo, but he couldn't get enough on his shot to challenge the keeper. It was the college team who actually had the better opportunities in the first half, taking advantage of Rapids turnovers and errors. Berner was forced into one exceptional save, making a point-blank stop in the 27th minute.
The second half started better for the Rapids, with the possession leading to more opportunities and corner kicks, and Colorado finally broke through in the 60th minute. A foul in the middle of the field won by Marlon Hairston gave the visitors a dangerous free kick, and Chavez stepped up and drilled a low, swerving shot that found its way untouched through a crowd and into the bottom corner.
Immediately after the goal, the Rapids made 10 substitutions, changing every field player. The second group set to work right away and totally controlled the final 30 minutes.
Dillon Serna, Vicente Sanchez, Charles Eloundou and Deshorn Brown were the front four, and the group combined for many opportunities, the best of which came in the 65th minute. Sanchez rounded the keeper and found Brown alone in front, but a great stop from a UNLV defender cleared the ball off the line. The Rapids got the rebound and kept it in, with Brown once again flicking it toward the net, but this time the UNLV keeper had recovered to tip it wide.
Colorado got its second goal in the 78th minute, when trialist Juan Guzman won a ball in midfield and quickly countered to a wide-open Sanchez, who scored low and with his left foot. The Rapids kept up the pressure and Brown was again denied spectacularly twice in the last six minutes of the match, with the Jamaican unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.
With the win, Colorado picked up its third victory in as many games, but will have its first match in front of a paid crowd this Sunday in the Las Vegas ProSoccer Challenge at 8pm MT. The match will not be streamed or broadcast, so updates will come via www.twitter.com/ColoradoRapids.
COLORADO RAPIDS 2:0 UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA-LAS VEGAS
Friday, February 14, 2014
Peter Johann Memorial Field, Las Vegas, Nevada
COL - Marvin Chavez (unassisted) 60'
COL - Vicente Sanchez (Juan Guzman) 78'
Rapids Lineup (4-2-3-1):
John Berner; Tolani Ibikunle (Albert Edward 61'), Grant Van De Casteele (Marvell Wynne 61'), Drew Moor (Jared Watts 61'), Chris Klute (Marc Burch 61'); Nathan Sturgis (Nick LaBrocca 61'), Marlon Hairston (Juan Guzman 61'); Marvin Chavez (Dillon Serna 61'), Samuel Galindo (Vicente Sanchez 61'), Gabriel Torres (Charles Eloundou 61'); Kamani Hill (Deshorn Brown 61').