The Rapids didn’t get the result they wanted on Sunday with a 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake, but the team has spent this week vowing to put forth a better performance in their next match against Sporting Kansas City. A win against SKC would put the Rapids back in the mix going into the final group stage contest against Minnesota.
So, now it’s time to get back to work. Here are three takeaways from this week at training.
1. This Team Knows How to Bounce Back
Ever since head coach Robin Fraser joined the Rapids, this team has proven to be very resilient. Last season, when the club lost its first match under Fraser, they promptly responded with a clutch win - a 3-2 victory over Sporting Kansas City, to be exact.
The team went on to only lose one more game on the season, the final match of the year against LAFC. One could argue that they bounced back from that, too, with back-to-back wins to start the 2020 campaign.
“I know how much better they are, and they know how much better they are, and I think we’ll see that,” Fraser said. “I know that this is a proud group, and I know that the response will look different on Friday.”
Sunday marked the first time that Fraser’s Rapids have ever been kept off the scoresheet, so expect the side to come out swinging on Friday.
2. Florida Weather Takes a Toll, but the Rapids Turn It Up
The rainy Florida weather required that the Rapids mix things up a bit this week. On Tuesday, the club took some of the training sessions indoors, practicing foot skills and warm ups inside, before going outside to the pitch once the weather had passed.
Regardless of the ongoing unusual requirements of this tournament, the team has felt a palpable shift this week.
“I wouldn’t say we’ve been playing any different, because we trust our process and the things that we do, but I do think that the notch has turned up a little bit,” Andre Shinyashiki said. “Guys are a little bit more aware and a little bit more dialed in because we know we can’t afford to make as many mistakes as we did against Salt Lake. So, I think you’re going to see a team that’s going to come in and you know fight a little bit harder than we did on Sunday.”
In addition, the team had the opportunity to go to its first meal in the hotel restaurant, which is a rotating opportunity for clubs on a limited basis. This allowed the team to have a bit of extra team bonding and provides helpful opportunity for a group of players that were forced to be apart from one another for several months.
“It was really good,” Shinyashiki said. “it was a good time for all of us to get together, spend some time together as a team.”
3. Team Depth Should Prove Vital
Sunday’s lineup saw several debuts – with a first start for Nicolas Benezet and for rookie Jeremy Kelly. With such tight a turn around for games and the increase in allowed substitutions, more debuts could be on the horizon.
Auston Trusty is the young, energetic defender that the Rapids acquired from the Philadelphia Union this offseason. Throughout preseason, Trusty showed off his athleticism and confidence commanding the back line. He is a prime example of someone fighting to make their way into the lineup this week.
“Andre [Shinyashiki] and Clint [Irwin] took knocks to the head during the game," Fraser said during a press conference. "All reports are that they are doing better, they were able to get some physical activity in yesterday. Other than that, just minor strains and soreness.”
Keegan Rosenberry is another player who could feature on Friday after missing Sunday's match. Finally, William Yarbrough, who has yet to appear for the club, served as backup for Irwin in the first match and would therefore be another option in goal.