In their first tune-up for the upcoming 2018 season, Colorado Rapids Soccer Club faced-off against last season’s Eastern Conference finalists Columbus Crew SC at the Grande Sports Academy.
Taking the field under a hot, Arizona sun, new head coach Anthony Hudson selected a line-up full of familiar faces, including captain Tim Howard, as well Stefan Aigner, Dominique Badji, Nana Boateng, Kortne Ford, Marlon Hairston, Eric Miller, Axel Sjöberg and Jared Watts.
Also in the starting 11 were new signings Edgar Castillo and Johan Blomberg. Castillo, who joined the club this offseason on loan from Monterrey, was impressive throughout, while playmaker Blomberg who joined the burgundy from AIK Fotboll of the Swedish top-flight, created numerous chances.
In a back-and-forth first half, it was Crew SC who got on the scoresheet first courtesy of a second-minute finish from Gyasi Zardes. The Rapids were quick to equalize however as Ford rose highest on a 26th-minute corner kick, powering home past Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffan.
After the Crew’s Luis Argudo found the back of the net 15-minutes in to the second half, the Rapids then made eight changes, bringing on Caleb Calvert, Jack McBean, Enzo Martinez, Micheal Azira, Alan Winn, Dillon Serna, Kip Colvey and goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
Despite having numerous quality chances to equalize, the match would go on to finish 2-1.
Next up for the Rapids is a Saturday, February 3 scrimmage with Sporting Kansas City in Scottsdale, Arizona.
For more on the Rapids preseason schedule, visit ColoradoRapids.com.
Colorado Rapids 1-2 Columbus Crew SC
January 31, 2018 - Casa Grande, AZ
CLB: 2’ Gyasi Zardes
COL: 26’ Kortne Ford
CLB: 58’ Luis Argudo