Rapids 2 (6-9-6, 28 pts) will face off against Sporting KC II (7-12-2, 26 pts) for the third time this season on Monday, September 5, at Victory Mercy Field. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. MT and the game will be broadcast on mlsnextpro.com.
“A third chance at Kansas City,” said Erik Bushey, Rapids 2 head coach. “We have had a couple of positive games against them, if not positive results. Obviously, we kicked off the season with Kansas City and then the second game we lost. I think the boys felt like they deserved more, so it is good for us that we have a chance to take another crack at them.”
Rapids 2 has been on a roll lately having gone six games unbeaten for a total of 13 points earned. In the team's most recent match against Whitecaps FC 2, forward Maclovio Swett scored his first-ever professional goal to give Colorado its game winning goal in the 85th minute of the match. The game, which ended in a 2-1 victory for Rapids 2, marked the team’s sixth win of the season and saw goalkeeper Abraham Rodriguez record a season-high of six saves. In addition, defender Blake Malone earned his first assist while Philip Mayaka scored his second goal of the season.
“You look at our last game against Vancouver, which was really a wonderful result, a lot of spirit, a lot of togetherness, some good defending. With the ball, we still have areas where we can improve. Unless we are able to sustain some possession and create more opportunities where we can threaten the Kansas City goal, I don’t think our performance last week will be good enough for this week,” said Bushey.
Heading into this week’s match, Colorado will look to avenge its last two meetings with the Kansas City side. Rapids 2 kicked off its season with a home opener against Sporting KC that saw both teams take on their first MLS NEXT Pro shootout of the year. Ultimately, Colorado came out on top with two points after securing a 4-2 shootout victory. However, in the second meeting of these two sides, Kansas City bested the Rapids in a 2-0 shutout, earning three points on the night.
“Last time we played Kansas City, it was a pretty tough game for us,” said defender Daniel Garcia. “They had a lot of chances and we just didn’t defend as well as we could have. I am hoping this time we can defend better and keep our composure on the ball and keep it moving. I am hoping we get a good result this week.”
Monday’s match will mark one of three games remaining in Rapids 2’s inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season. The team has made tremendous strides in the second half of the season after suffering some tough losses in April and May. Striker Dantouma “Yaya” Toure continues to lead the team with eight goals, but after a season-ending injury, the door is now open for players like Yosuke Hanya, Michael Harris and Swett to make their mark in the attacking third.
The team will also look to accomplish their goal of recording a shutout as the season draws to a close. With the recent loan of Michael Edwards to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, defenders Blake Malone, Omar Gomez, Steve Flores and Daniel Garcia will all need to step up in a big way to see their goal come to fruition.
“If we look at our remaining three games, we still have room to improve in terms of how we can sustain some meaningful possession and how we can create opportunities,” said Buhsey. “As I reference pretty much every week, we still want to be stubborn in defense. We want to hold in high regard the idea of keeping a clean sheet. We have not done that yet and it remains a big goal of ours.”
Tune in to this week’s match versus Sporting KC II on mlsnextpro.com at 6 p.m. MT on Monday, September 5.