The Colorado Rapids begin their Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoff run on Sunday, Nov. 22, when they visit Minnesota United FC. Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. MT at Allianz Field.
The match will be nationally televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and broadcast on Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM.
“This is obviously going to be a big test for us,” Rapids head coach Robin Fraser said. “They have a number of very talented players. We played them pretty closely last time around a couple weeks ago. We certainly felt like in moments we had some good opportunities, and in the moments you let your guard down for half a second, they can turn nothing into something. I expect it’ll be a really tightly contested game. The team that executes better on both ends of the field will probably end up winning.”
Colorado enters the playoffs on a three-game winning streak. The Rapids defeated Seattle Sounders FC, 3-1, on Nov. 1, before clinching a playoff berth with a 1-0 win at Portland Timbers on Nov. 4. Colorado clinched the fifth Western Conference playoff seed with a 2-1 win in Houston on Decision Day. That win lifted the Rapids to the second-best road record in MLS this season (5-3-1; W-L-D).
19-year-old Homegrown midfielder Cole Bassett, a Littleton, Colo., native, leads Colorado with five goals and five assists. Fellow Homegrown Player Sam Vines, 21, played a full 90 minutes in every match this season, becoming the only Rapids player to play every minute in 2020.
This is Colorado’s 14th time qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs. Fraser is now just the third Rapids head coach to lead the team to the playoffs in his first full season with the club and the first since Fernando Clavijo in 2005. The Rapids enter the postseason with the fourth-highest goals-per-game average in MLS since the beginning of 2019.
This is the third meeting of 2020 between the Rapids and Loons. They played to a 2-2 draw at the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, Fla., on July 22 before a trip to Minnesota on Oct. 28 went the home side’s way in a last-minute 2-1 win.
Minnesota finished the regular season on an eight-game unbeaten run. Midfielder Kevin Molino leads the Loons with nine goals, while Emanuel Reynoso leads the team with seven assists.
Rapids fans can also tune into the Virtual Playoff Party and Pre-Game Show hosted by Rachel Vigil and Richard Flemming at 5 p.m. MT. Fans will have the opportunity to see club content on the Virtual Videoboard and a chance to win giveaways and prizes all match long.
- This is Colorado’s 14th time qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs and the first since 2016. Robin Fraser becomes the first head coach to lead the team to the playoffs in his first full season with the club since Fernando Clavijo in 2005.
- Since the beginning of 2019, Colorado has scored 90 goals in 52 MLS matches. The Rapids’ 1.70 goals per game average in that span is the fourth-best in MLS. Colorado finished the regular season with a +4 goal differential, which is the club’s first positive goal differential since 2016, the last time the Rapids made the MLS Cup Playoffs.
- Colorado’s 5-3-1 road record is tied for the second-best in MLS this season. The Rapids’ five wins as the visitor are also tied for the most in the league in 2020.
- The Rapids have significant MLS Cup Playoff experience heading into Sunday’s match. Head coach Robin Fraser is a two-time MLS Cup champion as an assistant coach with Real Salt Lake in 2009 and Toronto FC in 2017. Also on Toronto’s 2017 championship team were goalkeeper Clint Irwin, defender Steven Beitashour and defender Drew Moor. Irwin made a playoff appearance with Colorado in 2013, and Moor helped the Rapids lift MLS Cup in 2010. Additionally, midfielder Nicolas Benezet started all four matches for Toronto en route to the 2019 MLS Cup Final. Midfielder Kellyn Acosta made six appearances in three postseasons with FC Dallas. Defenders Lalas Abubakar, Auston Trusty and Keegan Rosenberry; midfielders Nicolás Mezquida, Collen Warner and Diego Rubio; and forward Jonathan Lewis have all appeared in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
- The Rapids lead MLS with 50% of their total goals being scored by players aged 23 or younger. Sixteen of Colorado’s 32 goals have been scored by players under the age of 24, including 19-year-old Cole Bassett (5), 23-year-old Jonathan Lewis (5), 23-year-old Andre Shinyashiki (4), 21-year-old Sam Vines (1) and 20-year-old Braian Galván (1). Colorado’s 16 goals scored by players 23 or younger are also the third-most in MLS.
- Players under the age of 22 earned 2,874 minutes out of a total of 17,774 this season (16.17%), which is the fifth-highest percentage in MLS and the third-highest in the Western Conference. 20-year-old Argentine Braian Galván played 244 minutes, adding one goal and one assist, while defender Auston Trusty played 28 minutes before his 22nd birthday on Aug. 12. 19-year-old Homegrown midfielder Cole Bassett and 21-year-old Homegrown defender Sam Vines combined for 2,602 minutes. Bassett leads the team with five goals and five assists, while Vines was the only Rapids player to play a full 90 minutes in all 18 matches, adding one goal and three assists.
- Saturday marks the 10-year anniversary of Colorado’s first MLS Cup championship.
- READ: Op-ed: A promise from the Colorado Rapids front office
- READ: Three Points: With wins over Seattle and Portland, Rapids prove they belong in MLS playoffs
- READ: By the Numbers: Analyzing the Keys to Colorado’s Success in 2020
- READ: Oral History: Players and Staff Describe the 2010 Season, Cup Final in Their Own Words
- READ: Minnesota United FC vs Colorado Rapids | Keys to the Match