The Rapids Reserves kicked off their 2014 campaign with a 3-1 win over the University of Nebraska Omaha on a beautiful Sunday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Gabriel Torres, Grant Van De Casteele and Marlon Hairston all scored for the home team, and Joe Nasco preserved the margin of victory with a dramatic late penalty save.
All the goals were scored in the first half, and Nasco, a substitute to start the second half, had relatively little action until the 90th minute. A penalty was called to the surprise of both teams, and Nasco dived to his left to maintain his clean sheet.
The Rapids had jumped all over Omaha early on, taking the lead after just six minutes and doubling it four minutes later. The first goal came from a beautiful give-and-go between Torres and Hairston at the top of the box, and the Panamanian forward knocked the return ball past the goalkeeper for the early lead.
Colorado kept the pressure up, and had a 2-0 lead come off a corner kick in the 10th minute. Kamani Hill’s low cross snuck into the six yard box, where Van De Casteele got a foot on it in traffic for the goal.
Omaha was able to strike back in the 20th minute, when a long ball was crossed to midfielder Mark Moulton, who chipped the bouncing ball over Clint Irwin’s head to cut the lead. The Rapids struck back soon after, when a perfect cross to the near post by trialist Thomas Piermayr, one of the match’s standout players, was flicked home by Hairston.
Colorado made many substitutes in the second half – Van De Casteele, Piermayr and fellow trialist John Neeskens were the only players to go the full 90 – including a total of five players from the Academy (Nathan Braaten, Jovanni Chavez, Kortne Ford, Isaac Martinez, and Quentin Pearson).
The match was also a return to action for goalkeeper Irwin, who was tested little in his 45 minutes. He has been recovering from a quad strain suffered in the final preseason game against the New England Revolution on March 1.
Rapids Reserves expect to play another match next Sunday, March 30 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, against the University of New Mexico, kick-off 11 a.m.
Rapids Scoring Summary:
COL – Gabriel Torres (Marlon Hairston) 6’
COL – Grant Van De Casteele (Kamani Hill) 10’
NEB – Mark Moulton 20'
COL – Marlon Hairston (Thomas Piermayr) 26’
Rapids Reserves: Clint Irwin (Joe Nasco 46’); Thomas Piermayr**, Brenton Griffiths (Quentin Pearson 61’), Grant Van De Casteele, John Neeskens**; Jared Watts (Miles Chow* 61’), Nathan Sturgis (Kortne Ford* 61’); Marvin Chávez (Jovanni Chavez* 46’), Marlon Hairston (Isaac Martinez* 46’), Kamani Hill (Charles Eloundou 46’); Gabriel Torres (Danny Mwanga 46’, Nathan Braaten* 76’)