COMMERCE CITY, Colo. - Colorado Rapids 2 (12-1-5, 45 pts) will face off against Sporting KC II (8-5-5, 32 pts) for the team’s last match in July. Kickoff at Rock Chalk Park is set for 5 p.m. MT on Sunday, July 30. The game will be broadcast through MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
Rapids 2 is coming off one of its toughest matches of the year against Austin FC II. The lone home match in July saw the team go down by three goals in the first half, forcing Colorado to climb back from a three-goal deficit in just 45 minutes in the second half.
The Sunday afternoon game kicked off early with Austin finding the back of the net three times in the first 30 minutes of the game. The league-leading Colorado attack tried to remain composed on the ball, putting up two shots on goal during the remainder of the half against an Austin side who leads the league in goals allowed this season.
With their backs against the wall, Rapids 2 came out of the locker room in the second half looking for a breakthrough moment. In the 58th minute, Colorado found its first opportunity to pull one back with Marlon Vargas stepping up to the spot to convert on a penalty kick. Vargas’ goal was the momentum builder the team needed as midfielder Oliver Larraz quickly grabbed the team’s second in the 66th minute off an assist from Yosuke Hanya.
The second half continued with multiple dangerous chances and six additional shots on goal from the home side. In the 78th minute, Larraz stood over a corner kick and placed it perfectly into the box, but it was an Austin defender who managed to get a head on, accidentally putting the ball into the back of the net for the Rapids 2 equalizer.
The whistle blew at the end of regulation with the teams tied at 3-3, asking the sides to face a MLS NEXT Pro shootout. The shootout lasted six rounds with all six Rapids 2 players converting on their kicks from the spot. Goalkeeper Adam Beaudry was the hero of the night, making a save in the last round of the shootout to give Rapids 2 the extra point on the night in a 6-5 shootout victory.
Heading into Week 19 of the season, Rapids 2 will see a new face in its lineup. Former Austin FC II midfielder Jackson Walti will join Colorado ahead of the team’s upcoming match against Sporting KC II. The 23-year-old joined Austin FC II at the start of the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season and has appeared in 12 matches so far this year. Walti will serve as an additional member of the Rapids 2 midfield as second-year player Connor Miller heads off to start his collegiate career at Cornell University.
This weekend’s match at Rock Chalk Park will mark the second time that Rapids 2 has faced the Kansas City side this season. The first meeting between the two sides during the season’s home opener saw Colorado snatch its first three points of the season off a stoppage time winner from defender Blake Malone. Midfielder Hanya opened the team’s account in the 59th minute of the match, but Malone sealed the deal with a 92nd minute header for his first-ever goal in Burgundy.