Rapids 2 (2-7-1, 9 pts) will travel to Seattle this weekend to take on Tacoma Defiance (6-2-4, 25 pts) for the second time this season on Saturday, June 18 at the Starfire Sports Complex. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. MT and the game will be broadcast on www.mlsnextpro.com.
“I think it is a great opportunity to compete again,” said Rapids 2 midfielder Connor Miller. “Obviously, most of us had a week off and we got to watch the first team and senior members enjoy two positive results against St. Louis and Real Monarchs. I really think that gives us a bit of a boost going into what will be a tough weekend on the road against a good opponent that is really fighting at the top of the table. We really owe it to ourselves to get a good result there.”
The Rapids are coming off of a three game homestand that saw the team record one loss, one draw and one win over the course of 10 days. In the team’s two most recent matches, Colorado lined up in rare form with 11 first team players premiering as the starters for each match. The match against STL CITY2, which ended in a 2-2 draw, saw first team loan Collen Warner record his second Rapids 2 goal of the season while Nicolas Mezquida logged his first. Mezquida’s 95th minute equalizer sent the two sides to a MLS NEXT Pro shootout where Colorado ultimately fell short in a 3-4 shootout loss. The team’s next match versus Real Monarchs saw the home side earn three points thanks to a penalty kick goal from forward Gyasi Zardes and additional goals from Jonathan Lewis and Diego Rubio.
This week, Colorado will face off against Tacoma Defiance who currently sits in a second place standing in the Western Conference. The last time these two sides met, Colorado suffered a 0-2 loss to Seattle in the team’s first-ever doubleheader match at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park. The boys in burgundy put up a strong offensive effort taking eight shots with two on goal while Tacoma only recorded four shots during the entirety of the match. First team loan Darren Yapi led the home side in the attacking third, putting up five shots of his own. Sebastian Anderson and Jackson Travis led the team out of the back, applying pressure to a strong Seattle side and stifling dangerous attempts on goal.
“The last time we played Tacoma, it was an interesting match where we didn’t concede much and yet I wasn’t very happy with our overall organization defensively,” said Rapids 2 head coach Erik Bushey. “It was interesting from the standpoint that we really didn’t give up much, but we weren’t as good as we wanted to be. We are looking forward to trying to improve upon that performance from last time. We know they are a very good side with good players and well coached and potentially well supported at the game as well. Seattle and Tacoma bring an excellent environment to their soccer, so we are excited about the opportunity.”
Tacoma will host the Rapids for the first time as both teams approach the halfway point of the season. As it stands, Tacoma sits only two points behind the overall league leaders but holds the title for the most goals scored in the league with 31 to their name. In addition, Seattle forward Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez currently sits two goals behind the league leader for the most goals scored in the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro season.
To view the full Rapids 2 schedule for the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro season, click here.