After nearly three years filled with injury, rehab and recovery, Rapids Homegrown Kortne Ford is advancing to the Western Conference finals of the 2021 USL Championship Playoffs on Saturday. Representing San Antonio FC while on loan from Colorado, Ford will take on Orange County for the conference title and chance to advance to the championship match.
Ford’s journey to San Antonio is one paved through Colorado, as the center back joined the Rapids family in 2012 and grew in the club’s Academy until he was signed by former head coach Pablo Mastroeni as a Homegrown player in 2017. He made his debut that year, making 35 appearances and recording one goal in his first two seasons in burgundy before back-to-back knee injuries sidelined him in 2019 and 2020.
Since his return to play in August with San Antonio, Ford has recorded 15 appearances and four goals in that time. Two of those 15 matches came as playoff victories over San Diego Loyal, where he faced a fellow loaned-out Rapids teammate Oliver Larraz for a 2-0 victory, and Rio Grande Valley in a 3-1 decision to advance to the conference finals.
Ford will face off against former Rapids teammate and 2013 MLS Rookie of the Year, Dillon Powers, in the clash with Orange County. Powers was present for Ford’s debut in burgundy in 2017 against Sporting Kansas City.
The Homegrown center back is the only one of ten loaned-out Rapids players in the USL playoffs to still be competing for the cup. Aside from Larraz and the Loyal being edged out by San Antonio in the first round, goalkeeper Andre Rawls saw his playoff journey with Phoenix Rising FC cut short by Rio Grande while five other Rapids players with Colorado Springs Switchbacks were sent home by Orange County.