Rapids 2 opened the first of their preseason scrimmages in Colorado with a match against USL Championship side Colorado Switchbacks FC. Midfielder Daouda Amadou gave the team its game winner, securing Colorado’s first win of the preseason.
“They are a high pressing team. They put us under pressure straight away. It is probably one of the things I am most proud of, we reacted exceptionally well when we made errors,” said Erik Bushey, Rapids 2 head coach. “We never stopped trying over the course of 90 minutes and we progressed to a point where we could break their press. We found moments where we could find success and it encouraged us to keep going.”
The Rapids traveled to Colorado Springs for an afternoon kickoff that saw Switchbacks fans pack the stands for the team’s season ticket member party. With the crowd roaring chants, the Rapids 2 squad kicked it into high gear with their first scoring attempt of the match coming in the first minute of the half.
The Switchbacks returned the favor in the seventh minute, forcing our trialist goalkeeper to make his first of five saves in the first half.
As the minutes ticked on, the Rapids struggled to find an opening in the Switchbacks’ high press. Meanwhile, the home team continued to apply pressure to the backline made up of Jackson Travis, Daniel Garcia, Daniel Chacón and Steve Flores.
In the 24th minute, Garcia stepped up to the plate to make two huge back-to-back defensive plays, stopping the home side from securing the match opener.
The last two scoring attempts came in the last 10 minutes of the half when Pariss Mitchell laid off his second shot on target while Yosuke Hanya bagged his first shot on goal. Ultimately, the half ended with a 0-0 score line and opened the door for a second half winner.
The second half got off to a slow start with neither team making advances on the goal for the first 20 minutes.
In the 68th minute, Marlon Vargas picked up a ball on the left wing and delivered a cross to the near post. Caique de Brito Cerqueira found himself in a one-on-one standoff with a Switchbacks defender who denied Colorado of their most dangerous opportunity.
The game winner finally came in the 80th minute when Amadou collected a loose ball near the midfield. He proceeded to play a long through ball to Hanya who carried it into the box and played it back to Amadou for a fiery finish.
“It was an excellent goal in transition,” said Bushey. “Ultimately, the ball makes its way to Daouda (Amadou) who has recently stepped back on the field in his return to the country. It was a lovely strike and you don’t often get rewarded for sticking to it and for your hard work. However, today we did.”
With only 10 minutes left in the match, the Rapids were forced to defend against a Switchbacks side looking for a last-minute equalizer. Defender Joshua Hardin came up big in the 84th minute with a goal line clearance while our second trialist goalkeeper made one last save to give the Rapids its final push for a win.
The Rapids will take on the University of Denver in a preseason scrimmage on Sunday, Match 5, at 10:30 a.m. MT.
To view the full 2023 preseason schedule, click here.