This was the best defensive performance of the season
Across the back line, Tommy Smith, Axel Sjöberg and Kortne Ford seem to have found a bit of a rhythm. They’ve started three games in a row as the central defenders and the week of training together seemed to help the trio get on the same page. They looked organized, dominated in the air (as you’d expect they would) and limited the chances from the dangerous Houston attack.
It was the most confident and calm the side has looked defensively since holding Toronto FC scoreless in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League tie and if this group of three can stay healthy during the second half of the season, I’d expect the Rapids to keep a few more teams off the scoreboard.
Giles Barnes impressed in his debut
Barnes didn’t have much time to acclimate to his new teammates or surroundings, but it didn’t matter for the Jamaican international. Barnes settled in to the match nicely after the first fifteen minutes. He played in an attacking midfield role floating underneath Dominique Badji, looking to set up teammates and run in to space.
The connection with Badji and others was missing at times, but the timing and understanding should come with a few more training sessions. Unfortunately for Barnes and Rapids fans, his debut was cut short when he hobbled off just a few minutes in to the second half.
That his new boss elected to start him from the first whistle against Houston gives you an idea of how highly the staff regards his quality and creativity in the attacking third.
When he’s healthy, he’ll be fun to watch.