The Colorado Rapids Academy had a busy slate on Sunday, playing three matches against San Antonio FC Academy at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park. All three MLS NEXT teams, U-14, U-15, U-17, went undefeated against the San Antonio side with the U-15s and U-17s securing a three point victory while the U-14s ended their match in a 1-1 draw.
“It was another busy weekend for the Academy with each team playing two MLS NEXT Frontier Conference matches. These were pivotal games in the MLS NEXT standings and all three teams performed well and earned valuable points against RISE SC and San Antonio FC,” said Chris Cartlidge, Academy Technical Director.
The Rapids U-17 squad sprung into action in the early minutes of the match when Logan Veloria collected a loose ball in the midfield and fed it to Patrick Dormoh for the home side’s opening goal. Dormoh continued to use his second-minute goal momentum to bag a brace in the seventh minute of the match off an assist from Max Walsh.
With the team up by two, the front line continued to put pressure on the San Antonio keeper who allowed the Rapids to score their first set piece opportunity in the 14th minute. Andre Romo stood over the corner kick and delivered a ball into the six yard box with ease to the head of Joel Ineh who placed it in the back of the net for the team’s third.
The half continued with an elite attacking performance from Colorado’s Josh Elicerio who earned a brace with goals in the 22nd and 24th minute. With his two goals, Elicerio brought the front lines’ total to five goals in 45 minutes of play. The final goal of the half was scored by Bruce Quinones Solis in the 41st minute, giving the Rapids a six-goal lead heading into the final 45.
The start of the second half asked the Colorado backline to put their skills to the test. Defender Isiah Flores came up big in the opening minutes, saving goalkeeper Diego Gurrola from a dangerous opportunity in the box. However, minutes later San Antonio put its first goal on the board off of a corner kick.
The half played on with Maddox Brown and Evan Perez leading the team with quality defending while Vincent Rinaldi added a final goal to the team’s scoreline in the 90th minute of the match off of a penalty kick.
Playing on the field adjacent to the U-17s, the Rapids U-14 team was thrust into a defensive position early on with San Antonio applying immediate pressure to goalkeeper Diego Ambritz. The away side got on the board first with a goal in the 11th minute. The Rapids were quick to answer the call after Edgar Heredia found the equalizer off of a rebound from the keeper.
With the two sides level heading into the second half, Ambritz was asked to make a huge save in traffic to keep his side from giving up the go ahead goal. The 13-year-old goalkeeper would go on to defend his side from a slew of scoring opportunities alongside defender Kamal Sawadogo who led the backline in stifling San Antonio. Ultimately, the Rapids ended the match in a 1-1 draw, earning one point during a hard-fought match.
The final Sunday game saw the U-15s record their fourth straight shutout performance in a 2-0 win. Goalkeeper Leo Medina maintained composure throughout the match, allowing his side to bring their season total to seven shutouts.
On the opposing end of the pitch, the first scoring opportunity came from Rohan Aggarwal within the first 15 minutes. The offensive persistence continued as Christian Tigre Sanchez made a fiery run toward goal and placed the ball in the back of the net, but it was called offside.
The score remained nil-nil heading into the second half, but a double yellow forced San Antonio to go down to 10 men, opening the door for the Rapids attack. Noah Chavarria took advantage of the opportunity, sending in a 20-yard curling shot into the top bin of San Antonio’s goal. In the 66th minute, the Rapids sealed the deal with a second goal from Angel Reyes.
The Academy ended their Sunday with a total of seven points earned as they look ahead to another packed weekend starting on Saturday, November 12 with two matches against San Jose.
“The players are in a demanding phase of the season with six competitive games scheduled in a 21-day window capped by a road trip to Seattle Sounders prior to the break,” said Cartlidge. “We look forward to building on this past weekend's performances as we welcome San Jose Earthquakes and Houston Dynamo Youth to DICK’S Sporting Goods Park for another round of games this weekend.”
The Rapids will face off against three remaining opponents before heading to the MLS NEXT Winter Showcase in December. As it stands, the Rapids U-15 and U17 teams stand in a third place position in their respective Frontier Division standings while the U-14’ have solidified a second place standing in the league.