Two weeks before the sides meet in the MLS season opener, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on March 4 (TICKETS), the Colorado Rapids gained an early boost with a come-from-behind 3-1 win over New England Revolution in their second showing at the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson.
Two goals from Caleb Calvert and two assists from guest player Tony Cascio helped the Rapids beat the defending champions, on another windy afternoon at the Kino Sports Complex.
Juan Agudelo put New England ahead after 19 minutes, as the Revs controlled much of the first half. Cascio replaced Liam Callahan just past the half hour mark, and it was his introduction which sparked the Rapids’ revival.
The Rapids drew level in the 44th minute. A low cross, whipped in by former Rapids player Cascio, was met by Calvert at the near post, who got enough on the shot for the ball to creep over the line, despite the attempts of Brad Knighton.
The busy Cascio was again involved as the clock ticked over into stoppage time. He did well to get the ball back across goal from the byline, allowing Dominique Badji to convert.
New England again started the stronger at the beginning of the second 45, but the Rapids worked their way into the contest, aided by a strengthening breeze.
It was with a little help from the conditions which allowed Calvert to make it 3-1 with his second of the afternoon. The ball appeared to be held up, Sam Cronin touched it through, and Calvert held off the challenge to slam past Knighton from the edge of the box.
At that point, wholesale changes were made by Pablo Mastroeni, with all 10 outfield players replaced, allowing fans a first look of the preseason at Albanian international Shkelzen Gashi.
Homegrown talent Ricardo Perez went close on a couple of occasions, while Marlon Hairston and Kevin Doyle forced substitute goalkeeper Cody Cropper into making saves. Dennis Castillo somehow put his free header wide of the target, as the Rapids peppered the Revs’ goal in a second half in which they dominated.
Earlier, Zac MacMath did well to push away a decent effort from Lee Nguyen, who managed to create the right amount of space to get a shot away. From Chris Tierney’s corner kick, Agudelo stabbed home the loose ball, over the top of Dillon Powers and into the top of the net for the game’s opener.
The Revs had numerous chances to add to their advantage before Badji leveled, and from there it was a more comfortable afternoon for Mastroeni’s men.
Next up for the Rapids is a game against New York City FC on Wednesday (5:00 p.m.). You can watch this game live, by clicking HERE.
Colorado Rapids 3-1 New England Revolution
Desert Diamond Cup, Kino North Stadium, Tucson, AZ
Saturday, February 18, 2017
NE: Juan Agudelo (Chris Tierney) 19’
COL: Caleb Calvert (Tony Cascio) 44’
COL: Dominique Badji (Tony Cascio) 45+1’
COL: Caleb Calvert (Sam Cronin) 60’
COL: Sam Cronin (caution) 52’
Rapids: Zac MacMath; Eric Miller (Dennis Castillo 61’), Kortne Ford (Jared Watts 61’), Axel Sjöberg (Bobby Burling 61’), Mekeil Williams (Marc Burch 61’); Micheal Azira (Sam Hamilton 61’), Sam Cronin (Nana Boateng 61’); Liam Callahan (Tony Cascio 31’, Marlon Hairston 61), Dillon Powers (Ricardo Perez 61’), Dominique Badji (Shkëlzen Gashi 61’); Caleb Calvert (Kevin Doyle 61’).
Referee: Kevin Stott