COMMERCE CITY, Colo.- The Colorado Rapids 2 will be kicking off its inaugural season on Sunday, March 27 as the team takes on Sporting KC II in the first home match of the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro season. Kickoff at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium is set for 4:00 p.m. MT and will see the match broadcast live on www.mlsnextpro.com.
“The players have put in a lot of hard work during preseason. It has been both a challenging and rewarding time. They have now earned the right to begin to enjoy the true rewards that can only come from competition,” said Rapids 2 Head Coach Erik Bushey.
Bushey’s opening weekend squad is made up of four Rapids 2 contract players, 10 amateur contract signings and eight First Team players on loan. Among those players is Homegrown Rapids product Dillon Serna, who will suit up for his eighth season in burgundy as the vice captain of the Rapids 2 squad. The veteran midfielder will look to set the pace for his side as they take on a robust schedule that will see the team play 12 home games and 12 away games over the course of 25 weeks. Joining Serna on the pitch is Rapids Academy product and Homegrown striker Darren Yapi who will likely spend a significant amount of time with Rapids 2. The 17-year-old had offseason stints with Arsenal and Club Brugge and recently made his MLS debut with the Rapid First Team in March. The Rapids 2 team will also feature the 2021 first round draft pick Philip Mayaka who was a standout in an injury shortened 2021 USL Championship season on loan at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. Rounding out the Rapids 2 squad is midfielder Robinson Aguirre who comes to the team fresh off a call up to the El Salvador U20 National Team camp. Aguirre leads a class of 10 Rapids Academy graduates who will participate on amateur contracts during the 2022 campaign.
Bushey’s side will square up against a Sporting KC II team led by Head Coach Benny Feilhaber. SKC II’s team features 18-year-old Sporting KC Academy product Coby Jones, who scored in his first appearance at Children’s Mercy Park as a 17-year-old. Rauf Salifu joins the away side on loan from Ghanaian side Accra Lions FC where he scored 21 goals in Accra’s Ghanaian Division One title and promotion earning season. Another Sporting KC II standout, Spencer Glass joins the club out of Indiana University after spending most of the preseason with Kansas City’s first team.