The Rapids Academy enjoyed another successful weekend on the road competing against Austin FC Academy’s U-14, U-15 and U-17 sides at St. David’s Performance Center in Austin, Texas. The Rapids Academy went undefeated against the home side with the U-14’s recording a 2-1 victory while the U-15’s ended in a 0-0 draw and the U-17’s drew 2-2.
The Rapids U-14 and U-17 squads took the field bright and early on Saturday morning to kick off the weekend slate.
From the first whistle, the U-17’s were on the front foot with their defensive action. The backline made up of Patrick Dormoh, Isaiah Flores, Maddox Brown and Tadeo Razo worked hard to recover the ball and keep goalkeeper Diego Gurrola out of danger for the entire first half.
Colorado was the first to bag a goal in the opening 45 minutes, taking the early lead over Austin. In the 39th minute, the Rapids opened the scoring for the match thanks to the quick thinking of Josh Elicerio who won a ball off a bad touch in the Austin defense and put it in the back of the net.
The team showed character and worked as a unit to get back in the game late after Austin scored two second half goals in the 47th and 67th minute. The U-17’s didn’t let the go ahead goal stop them as they worked together to find the equalizer in the 88th minute off of a play built out of the back. Elicerio was the goalscorer, giving him his second of the game and ending the match in a 2-2 draw.
On the field adjacent to the U-17’s, the U-14’s kicked off their first official MLS NEXT match of the new year. The morning game saw the top team in the league, the Rapids Academy, take on the second team in the standings, the Austin FC Academy.
The front three of Alex Hernandez, Leo Soltero and Noe Sarmiento were unstoppable on the offensive front, putting up their first goal in the 35th minute. The duo of Hernandez and Sarmiento gave the Rapids the opening goal with Sarmiento recording his first of the spring season. Just five minutes later, Soltero got in the mix and recorded the team’s game winner.
Entering the second half, Colorado’s focus shifted to defending. The back four along with goalkeeper Diego Ambriz were steady in possession and organized when the team felt the threat of Austin’s frontline. Meanwhile, Jonny De La Fuente and Mher Karakashyan dominated in midfield by covering every inch of grass on the pitch while controlling the tempo of the game.
The 2-1 win was ultimately attributed to a tremendous team effort that saw the Rapids best one of the top contenders in the league.
Capping the weekend trip to Austin was the U-15’s 0-0 draw with the home side.
Austin came out of the gates ready to test the Rapids defense. The home side controlled possession in the first half, pressing high into Colorado’s backline. However, the Rapids were unphased by Austin’s efforts and remained determined to change the pace of the match.
A highlight of the first half was the efforts of goalkeeper Leo Medina. Medina was integral in breaking Austin’s high press with his passing and managed to make an incredible penalty kick save in the first half to keep his team in the match.
The Rapids had a slow start, but grew into the game dominating the second half. Midfielder Cris Madera and wing backs Miguel Alvarado and Tigre Sanchez broke down the strong Austin defense and maintained the high tempo game environment. Unfortunately, the team was unable to find the back of the net, forcing them to settle for a draw after a hard fought game.
The Rapids U-15 and U-17 teams will return home this weekend for the first time in the 2023 season to take on LA Galaxy and LAFC at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park. The U-14’s will continue their road stint and travel to Swope Soccer Village to face off against Sporting Kansas City.
To view the full 2023 Rapids Academy schedule, click here.