During the inaugural season for Colorado Rapids 2, the Rapids' first team has been the beneficiary of the club's young players getting an opportunity for increased playing time. Thanks to increased match experience from MLS NEXT Pro games, players with eligibility for the first team and Rapids 2 ("first team loans") have been making regular contributions and debuts throughout the first half of the season. Here's a look at some of the players already making an impact in MLS NEXT Pro and at the MLS level:
Anthony Markanich has been a staple of the Rapids 2 squad this season, playing in four matches for a total of 360 minutes on the pitch. Markanich recently made his Rapids first team debut in the team’s U.S. Open Cup match versus Minnesota United. Since then, the Rapids defender also premiered in his first MLS match where he logged 90 minutes against the Seattle Sounders in a 1-0 victory.
Rapids 2 starting goalkeeper Abraham Rodriguez has made his stamp on the MLS NEXT Pro season serving as captain of the inaugural squad for seven of the team’s eight games. Playing 630 minutes for the second team, Rodriguez has been an exceptional leader from the back as the team looks to build out its defense with new additions to the roster.
Playing in seven matches for Rapids 2, Sebastian Anderson has been a stalwart of the Colorado backline. In his 596 minutes on the pitch, the defender has been a steady presence on set pieces, having serviced 19 corner kicks so far this season. Anderson also added one assist in the team’s April 10 match versus North Texas SC. In addition, Anderson has spent ample time training with the Rapids first team and recording availability as a first team substitute on multiple occasions this year.
Tied with Yosuke Hanya and Dantouma (Yaya) Toure for the lead in Rapids 2 goals, Darren Yapi has recorded two goals during the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro season thus far. The homegrown forward has started and played in seven matches this season and leads the team in shots with 20 to his name. On March 12, 2022, Yapi made his MLS debut, replacing Michael Barrios in the 88th minute of Colorado Rapids’ 2-0 home win over Sporting KC.
Dantouma (Yaya) Toure has been a key player for Rapids 2 as the team takes on its inaugural season in MLS NEXT Pro. Having played 537 minutes for the Colorado squad, Toure is currently tied for the lead in goals for Rapids 2 having scored one goal in the team’s matches versus North Texas SC and Earthquakes II. Toure also added an assist in the Rapids 2 home opener versus Sporting KC II.
Defender Jackson Travis kicked off his professional career this year with the Rapids 2 squad playing in seven of the team’s eight games this season. The Homegrown talent has started in five matches this year and has marked his spot as the leader in assists for the Colorado team with two assists in the match versus Timbers II.
First team loan Michael Edwards has spent a majority of the 2022 season premiering as a starter for the inaugural Rapids 2 team. The 21-year-old defender has logged 629 minutes in seven matches and remains a consistent presence in the Colorado backline. As one of the oldest players on the young Rapids 2 team, Edwards leads by example out of the back and is expected to continue to occupy a starting position on the team.
Philip Mayaka is the only remaining first team loan to have played and started in every Rapids 2 match this season. In 686 minutes on the pitch, Mayaka has managed to record 11 shots, tying him with two other players for the second-most shots taken this season. Mayaka also leads the team in tackles won with 19.