Rapids 2 (7-10-6, 31 pts) will take the field one last time this season to face off against Real Monarchs at Zions Bank Stadium on Sunday, September 18. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. MT and the game will be broadcast on mlsnextpro.com.
“Last match of the year against a team that has been in form and hopefully they look at us as the same. I think it will be a very competitive match. For us coming off a win on the heels of a loss, we want to finish the season on a positive trajectory, so the game has a lot of meaning for us,” said Erik Bushey, Rapids 2 head coach.
Last week, Colorado competed in its final home match of the season and bested Houston Dynamo 2 in a 1-0 victory. The win over Houston was marked by an outstanding performance in the defensive half, which saw the backline completely shut down the Dynamo offense from any shots on goal throughout the 90 minutes.
“It meant a lot. I obviously wanted to end the year with at least one clean sheet,” said goalkeeper Abraham Rodriguez. “I think the defenders did their job. Zero shots on goal, that is amazing, especially against a team that is as good as Dynamo. It was really important that we got that done.”
Meanwhile, on the offensive end of the pitch, Rapids 2 midfielder Philip Mayaka and striker Darren Yapi led the attacking efforts with two shots on goal each. Mayaka would go on to score the game’s lone goal in the 88th minute, earning him his third of the season while an assist from Daouda Amadou brought his season total to three.
Colorado now heads into its final match of the season against a Salt Lake side who has seen major progress in the second half of its season. The second meeting between the two teams will see the Rapids return to their usual starting lineup after fielding a team of eleven first team players during the first match between the two sides. The early June match ended in a 3-1 win for the Rapids after first team loans Gyasi Zardes, Jonathan Lewis and Diego Rubio buried three goals to give the home side its winning edge.
“We have beaten them once this year, but we had a much different side at that point dominated by our first team players. Probably both teams will feel like they have something to prove in this game. Where the first game was a result in our favor, I think we both feel at some level that this will be our first meeting,” said Bushey.
As the team takes the field at Zions Bank Stadium, striker Dantouma “Yaya” Toure continues to lead the scoring charts with eight goals this season and will likely maintain his spot at the top. Midfielder Yosuke Hanya currently leads the team with four assists this season, but he is closely followed by midfielder Amadou who has recorded three on the season.
Although the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro playoffs are out of the question for the young Rapids 2 team, Colorado will look to end the season on a high with a final three point push.
“Win, lose or draw in this last game, how we approach it, how we attack the game, ultimately how we are able to perform, I really want it to be positive. I really want it to be as best as possible an accurate picture of who we have become,” said Bushey.
Tune in to the final Rapids 2 match of the season on Sunday, September 18, at 5 p.m. MT on mlsnextpro.com.