Athletic kicked off the match with nine of their regular starters allowing them game time in preparation for their weekend league game against Celta de Vigo. Wearing the armband for the Basque club was former Spanish international Julian Guerrero.
The Rapids held possession of the ball for most of the first half creating several dangerous scoring opportunities from both sides of the field with accurate crosses from Dedi Ben-Dayan and Terry Cooke.
Haitian forward Jean Philippe Peguero connected on those crosses on three occasions but each of his headers sailed wide of the home team’s goal.
Kyle Beckerman’s shot in the 15th minute of the game forced Bilbao's goalkeeper to make a spectacular save denying a sure tally for the Black & Blue.
Despite the Rapids knocking on Bilbao's door throughout the first half Bilbao was able to knock one in just before halftime.
Athletic Bilbao scored the lone goal of the game when Danobeitia hammered in a powerful shot that bounced in front of goalkeeper Joe Cannon changing direction and sneaking past his left hand to give Bilbao the 1-0 lead at halftime.
The second half continued with the Rapids keeping possession of the ball and creating more opportunities on Bilbao’s goal.
In their most threatening opportunity the Rapids combined through the middle of the field before sending the ball to the right for Cooke. The English midfielder sent a low cross into the heart of the penalty area where Jovan Kirovski dummied the ball before Peguero flicked it on leaving Ben-Dayan alone in front of the goal. Dedi’s shot sailed high however and crashed off the crossbar.
Despite their chances the Rapids were not able to find the back of the net and the match ended 1-0 to the Spanish home side.
The Rapids will play their second exhibition match tomorrow when they take on a Spanish 4th division local team at Bilbao’s training facility.
Colorado Rapids vs. Athletic Bilbao
Danobeitia (ATH) 39'
COL- Joe Cannon Chris Wingert Pablo Mastroeni Mike Petke Eric Denton Terry Cooke (Luchi Gonzalez 75’) Kyle Beckerman Clint Mathis Dedi Ben-Dayan (Colin Clark 75’) Jovan Kirovski Jean Philippe Peguero
Head Coach: Fernando Clavijo
ATH- Aranzubia Felipe G. Karanka Lacruz Casas Murillo Endika Tiko J.Guerrero Dañobeitia F.Llorente.
Subs: Escalona Martins Iturriaga Angulo De Paula Eneko and Lizoain.
Head Coach: Javier Clemente
Photo courtesy of Athletic Bilbao.