Colorado Rapids 2 suffered a 0-2 loss to Tacoma Defiance on Sunday night in the first-ever Rapids doubleheader at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park.
"We talked about trying to follow the first team's lead in terms of protecting our home. This was our first chance to do it here in the stadium,” said Rapids 2 head coach Erik Bushey. “The nighttime game, the lights, the stadium, the music, I mean we had everything you could have asked for in terms of positive energy and creating an excitement for the game. I think it adds to our sadness in terms of the end result. I think we wanted to show well in our first experience here in the stadium but our first win at the stadium will have to wait."
The first 20 minutes of the late Sunday night match saw the two teams battle back and forth for possession in an effort to put together a solid attacking piece. Colorado earned the first set piece of the night in the 19th minute as Sebastian Anderson stood over a corner that connected with Michael Edwards who put a solid header spiraling toward Tacoma’s goal. However, a stealthy move from Tacoma goalkeeper Andrew Thomas prevented the home side from snagging the opening goal of the night. The minutes that followed were marked by many set piece opportunities for the home side but ultimately proved unfruitful for the Colorado side who was searching for their second home win of the season.
"We were pleased with the set pieces we earned and some of the execution. Some of the service by Seb (Sebastian Anderson) was outstanding. And obviously, there was an excellent save by Tacoma in the first half on our second, third corner. You know, credit to them but really, we got ourselves in the right spots at the right time,” said Bushey. “So, it's coming. Set pieces are a part of our club's way. So, we want to follow suit with that. We are getting closer and closer, so the expectations I think can continue to increase.”
The second half got off to a slow start for both sides as the team’s searched to break open the score line for the evening. The first bit of action came during the 58th minute when an unfortunate turnover from the Colorado backline allowed Tacoma’s Dylan Teves to collect a loose ball and punch it into the back of the net past a diving Abraham Rodriguez. The Tacoma goal changed the pace of the night, forcing the boys in burgundy to play catch up on Seattle’s second half lead.
With high stakes on the line, Colorado’s backline continued to apply defensive pressure only allowing four shots on the night as compared to the home team’s eight shots. The offensive presence from Rapids 2 persisted with the team recording four corner kick opportunities and multiple earned free kicks, including strong efforts from Sebastian Anderson and Robsinson Aguirre on the service and dangerously close finishes from Darren Yapi. The final blow of the night came in the 71st minute when Tacoma’s Marlon Vargas received a leading ball from Sota Kitahara that jumped past goalkeeper Abraham Rodriguez and into the back of Colorado’s goal.
The night was highlighted by a strong performance from Rapids 2 leading goalscorer Yaya Toure who took home his first Man of the Match honor on Sunday night. Toure’s presence on the pitch was notable as he was asked to make big plays on both sides of the ball, leading to a well-rounded performance on the night.
"Honestly, I love playing for the Colorado Rapids,” said Rapids 2 forward Yaya Toure. “I think the badge represents everything. The thing that I remember on the pitch is to obviously put the badge in a better position and obviously leave something behind that I can say I gave my best, I gave my all. To earn the Man of the Match today is something that I get to take in. I wasn't expecting that because what I was expecting was for the team to perform better than we did or neater than we did, but it's football. Like Erik (Bushey) said, the goal can be quite uplifting or it can crush any team's spirits depending on who gets scored on."
Rapids 2 will hit the road again next week to take on MNUFC2 for the second time this season on Sunday, May 29. Kickoff at the National Sports Center Stadium is set for 12 p.m. MT.