Colorado Rapids 2 earned two points in a 3-2 shootout win against Whitecaps FC 2 on Sunday night at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium. After ending regulation in a 2-2 draw, Colorado’s Anthony Markanich, Omar Gomez and Michael Harris put away three penalty kicks from the spot to earn the Rapids the extra point against a visiting Vancouver side. 

"I thought the team played very well,” said Michael Harris. “We worked very hard and played a man down, which is tough. We all pulled through together though and you can see by the score how well we played."

Rapids 2 took the pitch on a rainy Sunday evening to face off against first time opponent Whitecaps FC 2. The game quickly turned in Colorado’s favor as midfielder Yosuke Hanya carried the ball with ease past the Vancouver defenders, getting off a pass to the top of the 18-yard box to the feet of striker Dantouma “Yaya” Toure. Just three minutes into the match, Toure found his first scoring opportunity as he sent a curling shot to the top bin of the away side’s goal. 

"Yes, Yaya (Dantouma Toure) got us off to a great start,” said Rapids 2 head coach Erik Bushey. “I mean Yosuke (Hanya) getting on the right wing, getting on the defense and cutting the ball back then Yaya's finish was absolute class. He is a dangerous player. If he can get himself face forward, then the opponent needs to watch out.”

Minutes later, Whitecaps FC 2 returned the favor, converting a penalty kick in the 11th minute to bring the game back to its starting point. However, the away side would shortly take the lead after beating the Colorado backline for their second goal of the night in the 20th minute of the match. 

A persistent Colorado attack led by Markanich and Toure allowed the home side to find its next scoring opportunity in the late minutes of the first half when Hanya was taken down in the box. Earning his second brace in back-to-back matches, Toure stood over the penalty and gave Colorado the equalizer in the 29th minute for the team’s final goal in regulation.

With the teams level heading into the dying minutes of the half, midfielder Robinson Aguirre was sent off the pitch with a red card violation, forcing the home side to play a man down for the remainder of the game. 

"Being a man down is very tough. They scored two on us when we had 11 men and when we had 10 men, they scored none. The team really pulled through. We stuck together. We fought and I couldn't be more proud of the team,” said Harris.

The second half of the match saw the Colorado backline step into action as Vancouver maintained possession and controlled the attacking third. Goalkeeper Abraham Rodriguez was tasked with defending six shots on goal from the visiting team as he led his team to their second-ever MLS NEXT Pro shootout. 

Rodriguez stood firm on his line blocking two of Vancouver’s penalties during the shootout, ultimately leading Colorado to earn two points in a 3-2 shootout victory. 

“He (Rodriguez) is leading because we know he is an example for everybody at every game. We know he is going to make the save. We know we can rely on him. His voice and his spirit are wonderful and now they are beginning to become more and more contagious,” said Bushey.

Rapids 2 will travel to Salt Lake City this week to compete in the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro Invitational on Wednesday, July 27, at Zions Bank Stadium. The team will face off against Premier League 2’s Wolves Under-21 side. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. MT and the match will be broadcast on MLSNEXTPro.com.