Rapids 2 (0-0-1, 2 pts) will look to secure their first three-point win as the team hits the road this week to take on North Texas SC (1-0-1, 5 pts) on Sunday, April 10 in the first away match of the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro season. Kickoff at Choctaw Stadium is set for 3 p.m. MT and the match will be broadcast on www.mlsnextpro.com.
Bushey’s side arrives in Texas off of the heels of a bye week and a home opener that saw the home side draw with Sporting KC II after 90 minutes of regulation. Rapids midfielder Yosuke Hanya netted his first-ever professional goal in the 61st minute of the match, marking a historic moment for the team as they recorded their first MLS NEXT Pro goal in club history. With 14 Rapids players making their MLS NEXT Pro debut, the home opener challenged the team to the second-ever shootout in league history. Midfielders Sebastian Anderson and Anthony Markanich, defender Dillon Serna and forward Darren Yapi all stepped up to the plate during the shootout putting away four goals from the spot. Goalkeeper Abraham Rodriguez played a key role in the shootout victory, making two huge saves to give Rapids 2 the edge over Sporting KC II in the first match of the season.
North Texas SC returns to Choctaw Stadium following a 6-5 shootout win over Tacoma Defiance after a 1-1 draw in regulation. Midfielder Bernard Kamungo leveled the score in the 71st minute of the match with a left-footed strike to the near post. The club opened the season under new head coach Pa-Modou Kah with a 3-1 win at home against MNUFC2, securing its first three points of the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro season.
“The additional training time we had without the competition in between the first game and the upcoming game has allowed us to build in a controlled environment,” said Rapids 2 head coach Erik Bushey. “Ultimately, the standards each week are going to increase. We want to get better at team performance, and I think we will look for that in terms of how one line relates with another and how we can look from back to front. We will look to see if there is coordination within our movements and if we are able to execute. To do that now against an opponent like North Texas, it will be a massive challenge. We do not expect the game to be comfortable. We don’t expect it to be on our terms for 90 minutes. We know it’s going to be a battle against a good team, an athletic team, an experienced team, but that is where the best evaluation is going to come, against the toughest opponents.”
The Rapids 2 squad will travel down to the Lone Star state alongside the Rapids first team (2-1-2, 8 pts), who will face off against FC Dallas (2-1-2, 8pts) on Saturday, April 9 at Toyota Stadium at 6:30 p.m. MT. In addition, the Rapids Academy is set to compete in the Generation adidas Cup from April 9-17 in Frisco, Texas. The Rapids U-15 and U-17 Academy teams will kick off play this weekend and will face clubs Universidad Nacional, CA River Plate, New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC, LA Galaxy and Remo Stars Beyond Limits Football Academy.