Rapids II

Preview | Colorado Rapids 2 to secure number one seed in Western Conference with win or draw against Real Monarchs


COMMERCE CITY, Colo. - Colorado Rapids 2 (16-4-5, 57 pts) will face off against Rocky Mountain rivals Real Monarchs (7-10-8, 30 pts) at University of Denver Soccer Stadium on Saturday, September 9, for Matchday 25 (7:30 p.m. MT; MLSNEXTPro.com). 

Rapids 2 enters the Saturday night match in search of clinching the number one seed in the Western Conference. The team is one point away from securing its place at the top of the conference table, which will earn the Rapids a first-round bye in the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs. Should Colorado drop its match against Real Monarchs, the team will still have a chance to secure the number one seed if Tacoma Defiance loses or draws its match against Earthquakes II on Sunday, September 10.

The Rapids are coming off a high-scoring match that saw Rémi Cabral put away a game-winning goal in stoppage time at Choctaw Stadium. The 3-2 victory over North Texas was marked by two comeback goals from Colorado and a late game winner that secured Cabral his 13th goal of the season. Goalkeeper Lars Helleren notably made his professional debut during the match against North Texas with his first-ever start for Rapids 2. 

The home side was the first to get on the board in just the seventh minute of the match when North Texas was fouled inside the box for a penalty kick. Midfielder Hope Avayevu stood over the kick from the spot to give North Texas its first of the evening. Midfielder Yosuke Hanya was quick to return the favor in the 20th minute, winning the ball at midfield and carrying it all the way to goal to score his 13th goal of the season, tying him with Cabral for the most goals on the team. However, North Texas responded before the half with their second of the evening off a goal from José Mulato. 

Colorado entered the second half of the match looking for an equalizer yet again, which eventually came off the foot of Darren Yapi who collected the ball on a mistake from the North Texas backline. With the minutes winding down, the game seemed to be heading in the direction of a shootout. It was midfielder Marlon Vargas who set the last play into motion, finding Cabral on a run into the attacking third. Cabral collected the through ball from Vargas and placed it calmly past the North Texas’ goalkeeper Antonio Carrera to give the Rapids three points on the night. 

Rapids 2 is now entering the second half of the unofficial Rocky Mountain Cup against rivals Real Monarchs. The first meeting between the two sides took place back in July and saw Rapids 2 beat Salt Lake City in a 4-1 road victory. First team midfielder Oliver Larraz recorded a brace while Hanya and Cabral were in their usual scoring form, grabbing one goal apiece. 

Real Monarchs kicked off the month of September strong with a 1-0 win over Whitecaps FC 2 at Zions Bank Stadium. Defender Delentz Pierre gave the Monarchs their lone goal of the night for the team’s second win at home this season. Salt Lake City has three matches remaining in the team’s 2023 regular season run as they continue to search for a spot in the MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs. A loss in regulation to Rapids 2 in tonight’s match would eliminate the Monarchs from playoff contention, marking the second year that the team has fallen short of a postseason berth.