Colorado Rapids

Preview | Rapids in search of three points on the road against Minnesota 

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The Colorado Rapids (3-11-10, 19 pts) will continue their three-game road stand as they visit Minnesota United FC (8-10-4, 28 pts) this Wednesday, August 30, at Allianz Field for Matchday 29 (6:30 p.m. MT; Apple TV – Free, Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM). 

After a group stage exit from Leagues Cup, the Rapids returned to MLS play in their first match in 39 days, and first match through all competitions in 23 days, as they faced LAFC last Wednesday at BMO Stadium. Colorado fell 4-0 in a game that saw two Secondary Transfer Window acquisitions make their debut with the team. Forward Rafael Navarro started and played the full 90 minutes in his first game as a Rapids player, while midfielder Sidnei Tavares started before substituting off at halftime just a week after his arrival to Colorado. Filling in following goalkeeper William Yarbrough’s recent surgery to repair a meniscus tear, goalkeeper Marko Ilić made his fourth MLS start with the club, recording four saves on the night, tying his single-game, career-high with the Rapids.  

“Both [Rafael Navarro and Sidnei Tavares] have settled in really well,” Rapids head coach Robin Fraser said ahead of the Rapids’ trip to Minnesota. “They’re getting along well with their teammates. Their understanding of what we want is growing day by day and they both have attributes that are for sure going to help us.”

This Wednesday, Colorado faces the Loons for the second time this season. The first meeting occurred at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park back in March in a match that saw the Rapids lose to Minnesota at home for the first time in club history. Midfielder Cole Bassett scored the opening goal of the match at the start of the second half, his first goal of the season and first MLS goal since returning from his loan spells in the Netherlands with Feyenoord and Fortuna Sittard. The team dominated possession, holding 62-percent of the ball against the Loons, but were unable to keep the result after Minnesota United FC’s forward Luis Amarilla converted a game-tying penalty and defender Miguel Tapias headed in the winning goal for the Loons. 

Minnesota United enters Wednesday’s game after drawing with Seattle Sounders FC at home last Sunday. The two teams played to a 1-1 stalemate, with Sounders defender Yeimar Gómez Andrade scoring the opening goal for Seattle in the first half before conceding an own goal in the second half. Minnesota reached the quarterfinals of the 2023 Leagues Cup before bowing out of the competition in a 5-0 loss to Nashville SC. The Loons have struggled at home this season, with only two of their eight wins happening at Allianz Field, posting a 2-2-7 record at home. Despite their record, Minnesota has scored in every home game this season except for their match against FC Dallas in April. Forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane leads the team in goals and assists with six and three, respectively, while six players on the team have also added two assists. The club’s scoring is spread throughout the roster as the club is tied for third-most different goalscorers in MLS with 14. 

“They’re a good team. They’re a really talented team,” Fraser said. “And for me, [Minnesota midfielder Emanuel] Reynoso’s one of the best players in the entire league, so we know they’re really threatening. They have other players who are really threatening. For us, it’s about making sure we’re good with the ball and we find ways to hurt them, but then, obviously, also it’s containing some of their really high-powered attacking talent.”

The Rapids and the Loons have faced each other 15 times since the midwestern side began MLS play in 2017. Colorado has the slight series edge over Minnesota in the regular season (7W-5L-2D) and a dominant home record against the club. Although the Rapids have a losing record on the road against the Loons, the club most recently won at Allianz Field in October 2021, a 3-1 victory despite playing with 10 men for the majority of the second half. All three goals came while the team was short-handed. Rapids forward Diego Rubio has scored five career goals against the Loons, tied for the third-most individual career mark through all MLS teams, only behind ex-Rapids forwards Kei Kamara and Gyasi Zardes who have scored six goals against the Loons during their careers.

Current Rapids winger Sam Nicholson first joined MLS in 2017 when he signed with Minnesota after his time with Heart of Midlothian of the Scottish Premiership. Nicholson scored a pair of goals and delivered a pair of assists across 20 appearances for the Loons before joining Colorado midway through the 2018 season.