The Big Picture

Larrys Mabiala scored in the 90th minute to end the No. 1 seed Colorado Rapids' historic 2021 season that saw the Rapids earn 61 points and finish in first place in the Western Conference for the first time in club history. It was Colorado's second playoff appearance in two full seasons under head coach Robin Fraser.

Notable:

  • The Rapids’ 2021 season comes to a close. Colorado finished in first place in the Western Conference for the first time after capturing a club-record 61 points in the regular season. The Rapids lost the fewest games in the West and conceded just 35 goals in 34 regular season games, tied for fourth-fewest in MLS.
  • Colorado qualified for the 2022 Concacaf Champions League for winning the Western Conference regular season title. The Rapids will learn their Round of 16 opponent on Dec. 15.
  • Since Robin Fraser’s first regular season match as head coach, the Rapids have compiled the second-most points per game in MLS, with 1.72.
  • GK William Yarbrough finished the regular season with 13 clean sheets, tied for the most in MLS, while posting 107 saves and a 76.81 save percentage. He was the only goalkeeper to finish in the top five in all three categories.
  • Captain Jack Price finished the season tied for fourth in MLS with 12 saves and led the league with eight assists off set pieces. He leads MLS with 22 assists off set pieces since 2019.
  • In his first season with the club, F Michael Barrios led the team with eight goals, one from tying a career high, and adding six assists.
  • Eighteen different players scored at least one goal for Colorado this season, tied for the most on any team in MLS. Twenty-two Rapids players picked up at least one goal or assist, third-most in MLS.
  • The Rapids finished the season with 14 set piece goals, tied for the most in MLS. They lead MLS with 42 since 2019.
  • The season saw the Rapids complete the transfer of D Sam Vines to Royal Antwerp FC in the Belgian first division in August, the club’s first major sale of a Homegrown Player overseas.

COLORADO RAPIDS MIDFIELDER JACK PRICE

On the match:

“Mixed emotions, really. It’s a hard one to take today. Football can be cruel sometimes. I feel like we deserved to go through tonight, but like I said, that’s football. Especially the first half, I thought we played really well, probably some of the best stuff we played all season. But again, just extremely proud of the season as a whole, but it just feels like we’ve let one go this year. But extremely proud, but yeah, mixed emotions. I felt like we were the better team for most part of the game and just a bitter lapse in concentration maybe on a set piece, which is ironic. We’ve been fantastic this year on them. Extremely proud of the boys and sometimes football can be like that. It’s very cruel.”

On the message Coach Fraser gave the team at half time:

“Just continue. Continue the way we were going. We felt like we had control. When we had the ball we had control and when we lost it we were in good shape to stop their offense. We knew they were good on the counter attack which I think second half, I think we let it go a little bit. We were a little too open and too stretched. I’m not sure what it was down to but maybe they just grew a bit of confidence. I don’t know. First half, [Robin Fraser] said yeah, just go out and do the same second half. Unfortunately, we didn’t probably create as much as we would like, but overall, I still felt we had enough in both halves to win tonight and sometimes that’s football. It’s cruel.”

COLORADO RAPIDS HEAD COACH ROBIN FRASER

On the result:

“Really disappointing way for our season to end, obviously. Credit to Portland, they did what they had to do to win. Felt like we had them under a ton of pressure in the first half. Feel like we were unfortunate not to get one during that time period, and then in the second half, I think we lost a little bit of control, which also helped them gain confidence and grow into the game. In the end, obviously they were able to convert on a set piece late, and for us, it seemed like we knocked on the door several times but couldn’t quite get in and here we sit. Definitely disappointing way to end and congratulations to Portland, they worked hard and fought hard and earned themselves an important win.”

On whether the long layoff impacted the team’s performance:

“I would say absolutely not. Based on the way we started, I would say rust wasn’t really the issue at all, as you said. I thought in the second half, we just made a couple of poor choices that led to turnovers, which allowed them to grow into the game a little bit more. I thought when we were efficient with the ball, it was very difficult for them. Definitely made them have to defend and put them into some pretty uncomfortable positions, and in the moments when we turned the ball over a little bit cheaply, then I think it led to them growing into the game and gaining more confidence.”

On the atmosphere at the stadium:

“Absolutely fantastic. This was—trying to think how many times I’ve been at this stadium, even with other teams, and I’ve never seen our stadium look like that. Big, big thank you to our entire front office for being able to produce an effect like that and a big thank you to the fans. They were phenomenal; we heard them the whole way. We would’ve loved to have given them something more to cheer about, but it was the best atmosphere I’ve ever seen inside the stadium. Again, just so many people I’m so proud of and proud to work with and happy to have these fans in front of them. I know for the players it was a big boon. You know, the question about rust, I do think the environment, the atmosphere, drove us early, and if there was ever going to be any rust, I think the crowd saw to it that that wasn’t going to happen.”