A frustrating weekend in Houston saw the Colorado Rapids Development Academy teams return home with just one point from the two matches. The Under-18 squad fell 3-0 and the U-16s tied 1-1 with the Houston Dynamo on Saturday at the Houston Amateur Sports Park.
The 18s had a lackluster first half, where they conceded three goals in 12 minutes. Head Coach Jamie Smith isn’t one for excuses, like the bus showing up late to the hotel to transport the team to the field with only 15 minutes to warm up, but used halftime to his advantage.
“There were a few components that didn’t go our way, and we were giving away possession way too easily,” Smith said of the first half. “We weren’t focused or concentrated, but the second half was much better. I explained a few things at halftime, like being organized and concentrating, and they responded really well.”
Looking forward, they have the next two weeks to resume a regular training schedule to focus on organization and are back in action on March 15 and 16 against Lonestar SC Academy and San Antonio Scorpions Youth Academy, both in Texas.
Colorado Rapids 0 : 3 Houston Dynamo
HOU – Jose Rodriguez 30’
HOU – Elochukwu Ozumba 32’
HOU – Elochukwu Ozumba 42’
Colorado Rapids lineup: Hayden Davis; Jovanni Chavez, Enda O’Neill, Quentin Pearson, Bryce Montes, Miles Chow, Jacob Hanlin (Remington Ellis 34’), Daniel Jimenez (Dakota Peterson 46’), Isaac Martinez, Esdrel Peinado (Felix Elias 64’), Nathan Braaten (Hayden Heinrich 64’).
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The 16s returned from the Generation adidas Cup last week, having qualified for the International Event in April, and continued to focus on the attacking third. As both teams struggled to find space in the first half, the Rapids responded to Houston’s goal in the second half with a well-executed goal for a 1-1 draw.
Head Coach Mitch Murray made some more lineup changes, using a back four that were all new to their respective positions.
“We had some very good possession and some near chances, and our young players had quite an impact on the match,” commented Murray. “Our defense adapted very well to the changes and I was pleased with how they all adjusted and performed in the new positions, especially without much practice there.”
Colorado’s goal came with only minutes left in regulation and involved almost every player on the field.
Kyle Ericson and Chris Reichman had several quick combinations on the left side to break. Ericson slipped a ball to Sam Vines, who typically plays on the U-14 squad. Vines one-touched a 20-yard pass to Elias Helbig on the opposite flank who had time and space to play Blake Moncur on the overlap. Moncur turned the corner towards goal and slipped the ball to JT Grover for a first-touch finish on the near post.
The Rapids, like their older counterparts, will travel to Austin and San Antonio, Texas next week for matches against Lonestar SC Academy and San Antonio Scorpion Youth Academy on March 15 and 16.
Colorado Rapids 1 : 1 Houston Dynamo
HOU – Juan Flores 48’
COL – JT Grover 79’
Colorado Rapids lineup: Tucker Schneider, Elias Helbig, Ernesto Rangel, Elijah Mwenebitu, Blake Moncur, Greer Solarte, Kyle Ericson, Luke Marchesani (Sam Vines 37’), Tony Rosales (Christopher Reichman 53’), JT Grover, Antonio Rosales (William Herzl 65’).