A late, late goal from former Houston Dynamo defender A.J. Cochran made it three preseason wins out of three for the Colorado Rapids, as they continued their 2016 preparations with a 1-0 victory at USL team Sacramento Republic FC on Saturday night.
As expected, the 2014 USL PRO champions proved testing opponents for the Rapids in a contest which looked set to be scoreless until trialist Cochran launched himself at a cross from Marc Burch to head beyond Evan Newton four minutes from time.
Republic FC had themselves put the ball in the net, 13 minutes earlier, via Canadian trialist Mackenzie Pridham. However, his joy was short-lived as the assistant referee flagged for offside and the goal was ruled out.
Burch the provider had previously posed the bigger goalscoring threat. On as one of 10 halftime substitutes, Burch's bludgeoning left boot caused consternation when delivering freekicks within range, one of which produced a fine save from the home keeper Newton on 52 minutes.
Kevin Doyle had the best chance of the first period, just past the half hour mark, but the Irishman watched as his effort fizzed inches over the crossbar.
There were also teasing balls into the box provided by trialist Brian Ownby and MLS SuperDraft pick Dennis Castillo.
Central defender Axel Sjöberg was a dominant force in the air during the first 45 minutes, but Republic FC finished the stronger, with a flurry of chances before the halftime whistle. They also finished strongly in the second half, prior to Cochran's clincher, going close through Max Alvarez and trialist Alex Risdale.
Next for the Rapids is a match against Swope Park Rangers KC on Wednesday in their opening game of the 2016 Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson. This match will be streamed live via ColoradoRapids.com and the Rapids' YouTube channel from 5:30 p.m MT.
Sacramento Republic FC 0-1 Colorado Rapids
February 13, 2016 - Bonney Field, Sacramento CA
COL: A.J. Cochran (Marc Burch), 86'
Republic FC: Evan Newton; Emrah Klimenta, Mike da Fonte, Chris Christian, Agustin Cazarez (Max Alvarez, 56'); Cameron Iwasa (Matt LaGrassa, 56'); Ivan Mirković (Joaquin Rivas, 73'), Danny Barrera, Alfonso Motagalvan (Mackenzie Pridham^, 56'); Harry Williams^ (Derek Foran, 46'), Thomas Stewart (Alex Risdale^, 56').
Rapids: Zac MacMath (Chris Froschauer*, 71'); Dennis Castillo* (Marlon Hairston, 46'), Stephen Keel^ (A.J. Cochran^, 46'), Axel Sjöberg (Bobby Burling, 46'), Mekeil Williams (Marc Burch, 46'); Dillon Powers (Micheal Azira, 46'), Jared Watts (Sam Cronin, 46'); Luis Solignac (Emmanuel Appiah*, 46'), Brian Ownby^ (Dillon Serna, 46', Yann Ekra, 77'), Zach Pfeffer (Dominique Badji, 46'); Kevin Doyle (Caleb Calvert, 46').
^ Indicates trialist
* 2016 MLS SuperDraft pick
The Rapids season starts on Sunday, March 6 at 1 p.m. MT on the road against San Jose Earthquakes, with the Home Opener at Dick's Sporting Goods Park against LA Galaxy on Saturday, March 12 at 5 p.m. MT. For more information or to purchase season tickets, click HERE, or call 303-825-GOAL.