Colorado Rapids

Recap | Rapids extend unbeaten steak on the road to four matches, Rafael Navarro records first brace for the Rapids


The Colorado Rapids emerged victorious from PayPal Park on Saturday night, taking home three points from a 0-3 result against the San Jose Earthquakes. The win marks the Rapids’ fourth consecutive unbeaten result on the road.

Striker Rafael Navarro opened the scoring first from the spot to give the Rapids’ the advantage heading into halftime, the second time in as many games the Brazilian has polished off a penalty kick in the first half. Djordje Mihailovic found Navarro alone in the box, prompting former Rapids’ goalkeeper William Yarbrough came off his line to clear the danger, but not before Yarbrough caught the heels of Navarro, taking him down and earning the Rapids’ a chance from the spot. The striker’s strong finish down the center of the goal marked his third penalty goal of the season.

“Well, obviously any time you win games, it’s a good thing. Winning on the road is never easy--[referencing] the Portland game and what we learned and how we grew from that very first defeat on the road. The boys said never again, so I think we come with real focus on the road and an understanding of we have to suffer together," said Head Coach Chris Armas after the match.  "I think tonight was a real team performance and a really mature performance from a relatively young group. A lot of shots it felt like, but we stuck together in the key moments, we defended the box well. It’s great to get goals, it’s great to see three goals on the night. It’s nice to see Rafa Navarro get two more, I think that’s four on the year for him. It’s good for any striker--the confidence to see Cole Bassett get another one for him is a good one. So, a really positive victory on the road, important for us to get points any chance we can and think equally, the shutout is nice to see. We’ve conceded in many games and to stick together and get the shutout was really important for the team.”

Navarro’s second goal of the night came in the 60th minute. Defender and Rapids captain Keegan Rosenberry sent a floating cross into the six where it bounced off both Bassett and Calvin Harris before falling to Navarro’s feet. The striker easily tapped the ball in to earn his first goal in the run of play this season.

Bassett capped off the scoring in the 80th minute after collecting a pass from Navarro and taking space in front of three Quakes defenders to the top of the box, where he slotted home a far-post shot for the final goal at PayPal Park.

Goalkeeper Zack Steffen recorded his first shutout while wearing a Rapids crest on Saturday night. He made five total saves on 24 shots taken, including a barrage in the last 15 minutes, to keep the clean sheet. 

"I felt the backline and the whole group was really dialed in, the clean sheet is definitely a reflection of their hard work," he said after the match. "Massive result for us away and that'll give us a lot of confidence going forward. But I thought the guys in front of me box defending were excellent, putting out fires, they were terrific tonight."

SuperDraft pick Wayne Frederick made his MLS debut in the result, coming on in the second half's stoppage time to get his first minutes with the Rapids. Frederick has already made an impact within the Rapids' developmental pipeline, earning minutes and goal contributions with Rapids 2. The 19-year-old forward has one goal and one assist earned with the MLS NEXT Pro side.

"Really happy for Wayne," said Steffen postgame. "He's a good dude in the locker room and smart guy on the field. He's got a lot of potential, his ceiling is very, very high. So I'm really happy that he was able to to get his debut and get his feet wet a little bit tonight. Hope that there's more minutes for him going forward because he brings on some confidence and just some poise to the group and I know he'll keep working hard."

The Rapids will return home to DICK'S Sporting Goods Park to take on FC Dallas on April 20. Kickoff at altitude is set for 7:30 p.m. MT.