COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – At first glance, the Colorado Rapids’ lightning-fast start in their 5-1 win over the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night was, at least partially, a coincidence.
But Deshorn Brown’s goal 15 seconds into the match was something the Rapids had been cooking up behind the scenes all season. A long ball off the opening whistle found Brown along the left wing, and he headed the cross onto Gabriel Torres. Torres then played a give-and-go back to Brown, who was all alone in front of goal to finish for the dream start mere seconds into Saturday’s crucial Western Conference showdown.
“That’s one of our main targets,” Brown said of the goal postgame. “So we just use it as the game’s about to start, and it finally just worked for us tonight.”
The Rapids said they’d come close to connecting on the goal off the opening kick in recent weeks. In fact, some players said they knew the quick goal was inevitable considering how much they’d been practicing it.
“It was,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said postgame when asked if the opening goal had been planned. “I have to say that this is just the result of the training and the discipline that these guys are putting into practices. I saw them training this play over and over, and I knew they were going to get it some day, and today was the day.”
The rapid-fire goal set the table for the Rapids’ most impressive result of the season as they mauled the Sounders for four tallies in the first half alone. Colorado controlled the contest right from the opening whistle – a pleasant change of fortune for a Rapids team that had struggled with slower starts over their last few games.
And they had a perfectly practiced and executed play to thank for it.
"That kickoff is something we work on. We train on that," Rapids captain and defender Drew Moor said postgame. "We don’t always expect to score off that, but to get in their half, get up the field and start putting early pressure on them.
“I think it caught some people off guard because we haven’t really started a game like that, that positive in a while. And to see us do it tonight – we’ve been working on it all season and focusing on it all season – we’ve got to continue to start games like that. Whether we’re scoring three goals in the first 30 minutes or not, we have to continue to play high pressure.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.