Base Camp ⛺

After 28 games, 70 goals scored, and one phenomenal season, the Colorado Rapids 2 have established themselves not only as Best in the West, but one of the best teams overall in MLS NEXT Pro. Like the climb up to one of Colorado’s 58 peaks that reach 14,000 feet elevation, Rapids 2 had to pour blood, sweat, and tears into their journey and the summit is in sight! With the team just three wins away from becoming the second-ever MLS NEXT Pro Champions, let's look back on their path to glory and how they attained such a level of success.

Coming off a 17th place overall finish in the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season in 2022, Rapids 2 looked to improve upon the areas they fell short in last season. Having only won 7 out of 24 matches, Head Coach Erik Bushey needed to start the season out on a strong note in order to set the precedent. And they did start strong, not suffering their first loss until June, setting a new MLS NEXT Pro record of going 12 games entirely unbeaten.


The Journey 🥾

The team’s performances did not go unrecognized. In the month of April, Bushey earned Coach of the Month honors and Yosuke Hanya won Player of the Matchday for his goal and assist that capped off an impressive comeback from a 2-0 deficit against North Texas SC. Hanya’s stellar performances extended throughout the month of April which inevitably meant he would be anointed as April’s MLS NEXT Pro Player of the Month.

As the season neared its halfway point, the team managed to up their game to yet another level. Rapids 2’s star quartet consisting of wingers Yosuke Hanya and Marlon Vargas, striker Rémi Cabral, and midfielder Oliver Larraz, played a part in 11 out of 13 goals scored in the month of May. Vargas and Hanya’s performances saw the two receive call ups to the Rapids first team alongside midfielder Daouda Amadou. In a resounding 5-0 win over LA Galaxy II, 19-year-old Daniel Garcia was subbed on at halftime and would score only six minutes after coming on. Garcia’s goal ensured he would collect the award for Rising Star of the Matchday. Another one of the club’s rising talents, 17-year-old starting goalkeeper, Adam Beaudry, won the Goalkeeper of the Month award for keeping two clean sheets from four starts all while looking like a seasoned professional.

“Listen, the players want to win, so what does success mean? It means winning… The player wants to win, so anything short of winning our next three games is not success.” - Erik Bushey, Rapids 2 Head Coach

Now at the halfway point of the season, Rapids 2 were once again awarded for the results they achieved by being appointed the MLS NEXT Pro Mid-Season Team of the Year. The team seemed destined for the playoffs, but their mindset was tested in the summer months of the 2023 campaign. After suffering their first loss to Tacoma Defiance in June, Rapids 2 bounced back by putting another five goals past LA Galaxy II. Following a victory over Real Monarchs that showcased yet again why Adam Beaudry has a bright future, the boys faced a difficult few games. Winning just one of the next four, doubts were cast over whether the team had the mettle to be Best in the West. Surely enough, the Burgundy Boys bounced back to their early season form and finished the season with six wins out of their remaining seven.

AndreRomo_MLS-NEXT-All-Star_SM_1080X1350 (1)

The Summit 🏔️

Rapids 2 players and staff achieved no shortage of end-of-season awards. Striker Rémi Cabral concluded his regular-season campaign with a hat trick in the Decision Day match to secure his position as the joint Golden Boot winner with 19 goals. Cabral’s second goal was assisted by the league’s leading playmaker in Marlon Vargas, that assist being his 10th of the season. Oliver Larraz played a pivotal role all season, pulling the strings from midfield on a weekly basis. He concluded the season leading the league with 55 total key passes. Yosuke Hanya was a thorn in the side of the opposition all season--by the end of the season he found the net 13 times and assisted 9 goals. However, numbers do not do him justice as his impact on and off the field was unmeasurable. But, this incredible season has been orchestrated to a tee by Coach Erik Bushey and his staff. After being at the helm for a difficult first MLS NEXT Pro Season, Bushey did an unprecedented job leading this year’s group to a #1 overall finish. Thus, making him the outright merited winner of the MLS NEXT Pro Coach of the Year.

With the summit in reaching distance for Rapids 2, it’s time to rise on the Path 2 Glory and push for the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Championship. The journey is not over yet, and the team needs its fans to help get them over the finish line. Every round of the Rapids 2 playoff campaign will be hosted at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park. Tickets are on sale now and we hope to see you out there cheering on the Burgundy Boys as they close out this historic season!

“I don’t know how many people are going to be here on the weekend, what I do know is that the people that will be here will be totally bought in, they will be here for the right reasons, they will be here supporting some guys that have unbelievably good futures and have represented our badge with an unbelievable amount of pride and dignity. It is a group of players we will all remember for a long time.” - Brian Crookham, Rapids 2 General Manager

What’s NEXT ➡️

The Colorado Rapids 2 are one step closer to the summit! After a comfortable 1-0 win over San Jose Earthqukes II, all eyes are set on the MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference Final this weekend. As we get ready for the conference final, let's take a moment to reflect on the game that put us only two wins away from glory. 

The boys were a leg up on the visitors after just two minutes, as San Jose defender Oscar Verhoeven saw himself get sent off for a challenge made on Rémi Cabral who was closing in on net. Despite playing a man up and having the lion’s share of possession, Rapids 2 had to wait until the 84th minute to see the net ripple. The winning goal came courtesy of Yosuke Hanya’s clever half-turn in midfield followed by a perfectly weighted pass into the feet of Darren Yapi, who managed to slot the ball into the back of the net with ease.

The team protected their lead until the final whistle blew, upon which their minds began to shift focus to the following weekend's matchup vs Austin FC II. The game will take place at HOME at DICK’S Sporting Good’s Park on Sunday, October 15 at 7:30 PM, tickets are on sale now at the link below. Seating is general admission and concessions as well as the main team store will be open, so make sure to arrive at the stadium early to get the best view of all the action.

Rapids 2 Playoff + Fan Appreciation Double Ticket Offer

Rapids 2 Playoff + Fan Appreciation Double Ticket Offer

Act fast and secure tickets to both the Rapids 2 Western Conference Finals match on Sunday, October 15th and the Colorado Rapids final MLS match of the 2023 on Saturday, October 21st where we are celebrating Fan Appreciation Night!