The Colorado Rapids U-16s returned to action on Sunday (February 9) for the second half of their 2013/14 Development Academy season. Despite strong play in wintery conditions, the Rapids fell 3-0 to local rivals Colorado Rush at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Both sides enjoyed decent spells early on, but there were only minimal attacking threats until half an hour into the game when the Rapids conceded from a corner kick. After the break, Head Coach Mitch Murray made some lineup changes to bolster the attack, but the Rapids were still unable to find the net. Rush took advantage of their opportunities and scored twice more for a comfortable victory.
With four players out due to injuries and illness, Murray had to improvise with his lineup. Left back Chris Reichman started the game in attack, and later Nathan Braaten moved into the position from his midfield role. Murray also called up a player from the U-14 team, Max Vang, who subbed in during the second half for his first appearance in a Development Academy match.
Murray is not one to make excuses, but mentioned after the match that although his squad had bright moments, he believed the two month break contributed heavily to concentration lapses and defensive breakdowns.
“We made some mental mistakes and got punished, but I think that will help us focus a little tighter for our games next weekend,” said Murray.
This week, the Rapids U-16 team will travel to Casa Grande, Arizona to participate in the second event of the 2013-14 Generation adidas Cup. Currently at the top of their group after winning their first two matches back in October, the Rapids will face Chicago Fire on Friday, Sporting KC on Saturday and FC Dallas on Monday, with times still to be determined. The top three teams from the combined events will advance to the international tournament in April where they will compete against the top MLS Academy teams from the other two regions and invited international clubs.
Colorado Rapids Lineup: Tucker Schneider, Ernesto Rangel (Elias Helbig 70'), William Herzl, Sam Rabin, Elijah Mwenebitu, Blake Moncur, Kyle Ericson, Nathan Braaten, Tony Rosales (Max Vang 60'), Antonio Rosales (Greer Solarte 50'), Chris Reichman.