Rapids II

Colorado Rapids 2 face off against Tacoma Defiance following U.S. Open Cup win

Game Preview_1080x1920_v3

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. - Colorado Rapids 2 (1-0-0, 3 points) will take on Tacoma Defiance (1-0-0, 3 points) for their second matchup of the 2024 MLS NEXT Pro regular season. Kickoff at Starfire Sports Complex is set for 8:00 p.m. MT (Apple TV – MLS Season Pass) on Sunday, March 24. 

Rapids 2 enters the Western Conference contest fresh off a winning result against Azteca FC in U.S. Open Cup play, battling to a 3-0 scoreline on Thursday night at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park. Rapids 2 defender Joshua Belluz was first to open the scoring on the night, netting his first-ever professional goal during his professional debut. Rapids First Team defender Sebastian Anderson was the playmaker of the night, adding two assists off of corner kick services to give the Rapids the edge over Azteca. Third-year Rapids 2 player Daniel Garcia scored the second goal of the night while newcomer forward Alec Díaz added the third and final goal. First Team midfielder Wayne Frederick also put his name down on the stats sheet, adding his first assist for the club on Díaz’s goal. 

Prior to the Open Cup game, Colorado opened their 2024 account last Sunday with a 2-1 win over St. Louis CITY2, owed to goals by Marlon Vargas and an own goal from the home side. Vargas’ season-opening goal was assisted by Díaz just before Rapids First Team defender Jackson Travis forced the own goal. 10 players debuted in Rapids’ colors during the opening match, including Academy players Noah Strellnauer and Rogelio Garcia who both made their professional debuts. 

Tacoma defeated the defending MLS NEXT Pro champions, Austin FC II, 3-1 in their opening match of the season last weekend following goals from Stuart Hawkins, Faysal Bettache and Gio Miglietti. Tacoma goalkeeper, Lars Helleren, spent time with Rapids 2 in 2023, signing with the team midway through the season and playing in two matches for Colorado. 

Rapids 2 players Díaz, Vargas and Hal Uderitz will return to Tacoma following previous stints with the club. Díaz and Vargas grew up in the Sounders Academy and both made their professional debuts with Tacoma Defiance during the team’s time in USL. Uderitz signed with Rapids 2 after spending two seasons with Seattle’s second team in their first two years in MLS NEXT Pro. 

Tacoma holds the record against Colorado in the two sides’ all-time series, leading the Rapids 3-0-1. Their most recent matchup in August 2023 marked the Rapids’ lone win, a 3-1 result.