Rapids 2 recorded its second loss of the season on Sunday night in a chippy 4-0 match against MNUFC2 at Allianz Field.
"Full credit should go to MNUFC2. They put us in some uncomfortable situations and too many times either our decisions or our technical execution let us down,” said Rapids 2 head coach Erik Bushey. “From that, we were under more pressure for longer periods. They did well to put us in those circumstances and we did not do well enough in solving problems. That's what happens against good teams. You make mistakes and you get punished."
MNUFC2 came out of the gates strong, challenging goalkeeper Abraham Rodriguez to defend his side from the blow of the first whistle. The first 20 minutes of the match were notably some of the keeper’s best all season, as he recorded three game-changing saves to keep Rapids 2 in the match against the offensive pressure of MNUFC2. Rodriguez ended the night with five saves against Minnesota’s nine shots on goal.
"Abe is always a positive presence and somebody that is always, and I don't use that word lightly, trying to get the best of himself and the best of others. He is an extremely vocal player, he is thoughtful in terms of thinking ahead and the way he communicates. Abe first and foremost leads by example and today was no different," said Bushey.
Minnesota managed to break the hold in the 38th minute when defender Nabilai Kibunguchy sent the opening goal straight into the top bin for the home team’s first of the night. Minutes later, MNUFC2’s Adrien Hunou advanced the Loons lead to two before the halftime whistle.
The second half started out strong for the Rapids as Bushey provided fresh feet in the form of Rapids players Yaya Toure, Jackson Travis and Omar Gomez. Despite the renewed energy, a double caution directed at Toure put the Rapids down to ten men in the 70th minute. The Loons ended the night with two late second half goals from Justin McMaster and Aziel Jackson, sending the Rapids 2 squad home empty handed.
"The win or a loss makes little difference to me in terms of our record. We are three games in, so it doesn't change anything if I am being honest,” said Bushey. “What it impacts is our emotions and our pride. So right now, we are hurt. I am hurt, the players are hurt. We are not where we want to be, but in terms of where we go from here, we are still trending upward. We are still building and growing. So now, we go home and get back to work. Whether we won or lost today doesn't impact that."
Rapids 2 will head into a bye week before taking on Timbers2 on May 1 at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. MT.