Colorado Rapids 2 lost to MNUFC2 for the second time this season on Sunday afternoon in a rain-delayed match at the National Sports Center Stadium. Colorado managed to record one goal during the match but it was not enough to best Minnesota’s five, ending the game in a 5-1 loss for the away side. 

“The guys are disappointed, angered and as always, we will go back and seek the answers that lie within training, and we will get better,” said Rapids 2 head coach Erik Bushey. “Today for me, I know it's very hard and people may find this difficult to believe, especially if they only see the score line, there are positives. We are getting better. Right now, we find ourselves in a game of fine margins. We find ourselves on the wrong side of those fine margins. I do believe in the player's ability to get on the right side and that is what we will keep working towards." 

The Sunday afternoon match, which was delayed an hour due to lightning in the area, got off to an intense start with both sides earning multiple set pieces in the first 15 minutes of the first half. Two clean services from Sebastian Anderson fell through the Rapids 2 attack, leaving the team with a continuous search for the back of the net as the first half carried on. The first goal of the night came during the 22nd minute of the game when a rogue tackle from Colorado earned MNUFC2 a close range free kick. Minnesota’s Emanuel Iwe stood over the ball and sent a curving strike past goalkeeper Abraham Rodriguez to open the scoring for the day. Minutes later, Minnesota found their second scoring opportunity of the night when a deflection in the box allowed Niko Hansen to find an open lane and slot one past the Colorado keeper. 

With the boys in burgundy down by two, Colorado felt an increased pressure to close the gap before halftime. In the 27th minute, Rapids 2 forward Yosuke Hanya made a targeted run toward the Rapids attacking third, finding open space and sending a cross to the feet of Darren Yapi. Yapi was able to create space and face forward with the presence of two Minnesota defenders on his back to fire one into the far post for the first Rapids 2 goal of the night. Yapi’s goal marked his second of the MLS NEXT Pro season earning him a spot at the top of the Rapids 2 leaderboard for goals scored. 

The first half ended with two more goals from the home side with Niko Hansen earning a brace on the night and Aziel Jackson collecting his first in the 37th minute. The Rapids attack ended the first half with seven shots, five of which were on goal. 

"On the attacking end, it is about being clinical and putting the ball in the back of the net,” said Rapids 2 defender Sebastian Anderson. “We get ourselves in such good positions to score and at the end of the day it's just about being clinical and putting it in the back of the net. On the other end, it is being tuned in and always ready for the 'what if's', what if they get in behind, what if they have runs off, just being prepared for all of those. The communication goes a long way in the back, just to make sure we have all of the numbers up and we have everything sorted as we are attacking."

The Rapids continued to push their way up the field in the second half despite some intense offensive pressure from Minnesota off of earned set pieces. Hanya led the charge for the Colorado side with two opportunities to find the back of the net in the early stages of the second. Ultimately, the Loons were able to send one final shot into Colorado’s goal, ending the night in a 5-1 loss for the Rapids. Colorado managed to put up 14 shots throughout the night with six on goal, making the Sunday afternoon match one of the team’s best offensive performances of the season. 

"It is definitely tough with the results we have been having. But like you said, we had a few shots on goal and some attacking threat, so that is one thing to look forward to and know that we have that attacking threat and we can put goals in the back of the net if we want to,” said Anderson. “We just need to tune in defensively and clean up some of our individual mistakes that we have had. Like you said, it is a long stretch and we just have to be mentally there. I know we have a few home games, which is pretty big. Being at home always helps, so we are excited for those coming up." 

Rapids 2 will return home next week to kick off their three game homestands on June 4 as the team takes on North Texas SC. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. MT at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium. To purchase tickets for the next Rapids 2 match, click here.