For the third week in a row, the Colorado Rapids are well represented in the MLS Team of the Week.
Winger Michael Barrios was named to the Week 5 MLS best XI thanks to his two assists in the Rapids’ 3-1 win over Houston on Saturday. The first came on Sam Vines’ left-footed strike to open the scoring in the 29th minute on a play that started with goalkeeper William Yarbrough, who also picked up an assist and made three saves as the Rapids earned their third straight win. Vines' goal is up for MLS Goal of the Week.
“I saw Mikey take off and you know Mikey is going to beat his guy,” Vines said after the match. “He’s going to get to the endline and get a cross in, so once he took off, I took off. I saw Diego [Rubio] run towards the near post, he took everyone towards the near post to open up space and Mikey placed a perfect ball to the top of the box and I was able to just slot it home. Credit to Mikey for getting in behind and making that run and credit to Diego for making the space for me to have an easy finish.”
“We have a real asset in Michael and his speed,” head coach Robin Fraser said after match. “Whether it’s in the run of play or with the ball at Will’s feet, we certainly try to get Michael into positions where he can be dangerous. It was a fantastic ball by Will and then the execution by Michael on both goals was excellent.
Then, on what proved to be the game-winning goal, Barrios found the head of Rubio to double the advantage. It was Rubio’s second goal of the year and came on the Chilean’s 28th birthday. Three minutes after the Dynamo pulled within one, Cole Bassett’s astute pressure on the visiting goalkeeper added the insurance marker.
Beyond his two assists, Barrios has begun to show the type of impact he can make in his first year in Burgundy. A starter in all five games so far, Barrios is seventh in MLS with 29 touches in the opponent’s box and is tied with Rubio for fifth in MLS with three big chances created, according to Opta. Rubio and Barrios also lead the team with 14 shots taken. While two of Rubio’s have found their way inside the post, Barrios is one of just seven players in MLS with two shots off the woodwork this season.
“Michael has been one of our most dangerous players since the first day of preseason,” added Fraser. Every time he’s played, he’s created opportunities, whether for himself or for others. [He] scored a number of goals in preseason, had a number of assists. He’s involved in a lot of our attacking play, for sure. It’s got to be great for him. I’m happy for him that he gets on the scoresheet with a couple of assists tonight because consistently he’s been someone who’s created problems for other teams.”