The Big Picture
Colorado Rapids 2 (19-4-5, 66 pts) defeated MNUFC2 (10-9-9, 43 pts) in a 4-2 victory for the team's final match of the MLS NEXT Pro regular season. Forward Rémi Cabral scored a hat trick in tonight's match to bring his season total to 19 goals. He now leads the league alongside NYCFCII's Matt Myers and Orlando City B's Jack Lynn for the most goals scored during the 2023 regular season. Defender Jackson Travis put away his first goal for Rapids 2 this season in tonight's match while Marlon Vargas added two assists to bring his season total to 10 assists to end the MLS NEXT Pro regular season as the league leader in assists. With tonight's win, Rapids 2 solidified its spot as the number one overall seed in MLS NEXT Pro.
- Rapids 2 defeated MNUFC2 in a 4-2 victory that saw Rémi Cabral record a hat trick on the night. With tonight's win, Rapids 2 solidified its spot as the number one overall seed in MLS NEXT Pro.
- Defender Jackson Travis scored his first goal for Rapids 2 in tonight's match against MNUFC2.
- Forward Rémi Cabral put away three goals in tonight's match to bring his season total to 19 goals. He is now tied for the lead in league goals with two additional MLS NEXT Pro players.
- Midfielder Yosuke Hanya recorded his ninth assist of the season, adding two assists in tonight's match against MNUFC2. He now sits in second in the league for assists this season.
- Midfielder Marlon Vargas recorded his 10th assist of the season in tonight's match against MNUFC2. He ends the MLS NEXT Pro regular season as the league leader in assists.
Postgame Media Availability:
Select postgame quotes transcribed below.
COLORADO RAPIDS 2 HEAD COACH ERIK BUSHEY
On the match:
“Tough game, again. We’ve become accustomed to those, so full respect to Minnesota and what they brought in. Obviously, a meaningful game for both teams and a lot on the line, especially for them so of course it was going to be a tough game. I felt good about our soccer in the first half. I think we created chances, we felt that we could be winning but you know Minnesota has a lot of weapons so there’s just this sense of ‘you feel good about the soccer, but you may not be in complete control’, so we don’t like that feeling and so it does keep you on your toes. At nil-nil coming into the half I think guys were, maybe had expected a bit more. They had to be reminded of the chances we created, and the goals we could’ve scored, and then to start the second half the way we did and the beautiful goal – we weren’t quite good enough in the box of course in the first half or efficient enough in the box – so wonderful start and lovely strike, good soccer that led to the strike but wonderful finish from [Jackson Travis] Jax. Then you know, we concede, and I’ve been watching games all weekend and the last couple weeks, and I see goals follow goals and you know it’s a trap and we fell into it. So, 1-1 again, now it’s in the balance, and from there it’s a tough game. And you know when we go down, you know as I ask the players who in here believed, who knew we would come back and win, who felt confident we would come back and win because we know that we’ve been here and done that and to me that’s the question. Whether they knew it, or believed it strongly, or enough people did, you know to see us come back with 20 minutes to go and score three, it was wonderful. So, an outstanding result and ultimately, with them having so much on the line as last week, the game had to be more meaningful to us than for them and I think the guys proved that."
On Rémi Cabral's hat trick:
“Yeah, well, happy for Remi, happy for the guys who helped create that because you know without everybody else’s belief, and soccer, and their performance, he doesn’t get it. But you know the best shine when the spotlight is on, he’s proven that. We had a lot of players shine today so I’m happy for him, proud for him and we had so many dangerous players today. Marlon (Vargas) coming on as a sub in the second half, other guys taking with it, because to be fair we were quite good in the middle, a lot of good passing I thought, some good attacks created. Throughout the game Minnesota had to be concerned about Yos (Yosuke Hanya), they had to be concerned about (Darren) Yapi who in the end was so unfortunate not to score one of the, what might’ve been the best goal of the season, and so all of these efforts on goal from distance, now they have to respect that, which creates space in behind and so on and on and on. But you have to have somebody who is going to put the ball in the back of the net and Remi has done that. You will not find a team who has won anything without somebody who knows they can score. We know we have a few guys who can do that, today it was three for Remi, and perhaps the next day it’s somebody else. Quite pleasing from a team standpoint to get four goals and yeah, Remi ends up at the top of the list, big time for him, big time for us."
On clinching the number one overall seed in MLS NEXT Pro:
"A lot. I’m not going to lie, I do feel the same way I felt whenever I was asked about it, maybe a month ago. We haven’t been able to control what the Eastern Conference does, so that is a bit different than the MLS who may have some crossover games. We don’t have that yet, but when it comes down to the end, and you are in contention for it, I’d be foolish not to be excited about it. It does mean a great deal. That means consistency over the course of the season, it means in one small way or one big way that you can say in that moment you were better than everybody else. The way our country is created, the way the league is created, I think everybody in that locker room will remember the process of this year, and the results. I don’t think anybody outside the locker room will, and I’m not saying this is wrong, but the country celebrates the trophy, and the league doesn’t put out trophies, there is no Supporters' Shield if you will. I don’t think there is anything for the conference, you know it’s a seed and who remembers the seeds, nobody. That’s probably not fair to the player, but it's also, that’s also what competition is. So, my hope is that we do something over the next three games that makes other people remember the work, the sacrifice of the people in the club, and the people specifically in that locker room have made. So, to do that, you have to be the one lifting the trophy. So, that’s where the focus now shifts in terms of the bigger picture. Obviously, there are teams to watch next week, and we know that outside of two or three games out of the 28, every game has been a fight, so we’ll do our best to be ready for that."
COLORADO RAPIDS 2 FORWARD RÉMI CABRAL
On the match:
“It was a really tough game, especially when you play in the afternoon with the heat. It was really tough to play with hard intensity, but I think the team did well, so we can be proud of the game."
On the team's resiliency to find a game-winning goal:
“I think the mindset is always never give up. I think we are really strong guys mentally, so we know we can go to war every game. That is good."
On his hat trick in tonight's match:
"My first thought was win the game first because we know Crown Legacy did really well so we wanted to win this game so we could be the first overall (seed). That is really good first of all. After that, my second objective was to score the most goals I could to try to reach the first place of the Golden Boot. I am really happy to be able to do that."
On securing the number one overall seed in MLS NEXT Pro:
"First is the field advantage. We play at home for the playoffs, so that is really good. I think we deserve everything. We never give up, even with the games where we take the goal first or go down by two or three and we are able to come back. We deserve everything to finish first and we finished well at home. That was really important."