The Big Picture
Colorado Rapids 2 (4-0-0, 12 pts) defeated Earthquakes II (2-2-0, 6 pts) in a 2-0 victory tonight, capturing their first clean sheet of the season. Rapids 2 remains the only undefeated team in MLS NEXT Pro after winning their fourth straight match of the 2023 season. Forward Pariss Mitchell opened the scoring in the 50th minute off an assist from Jackson Travis, marking his first-ever professional goal. In the 92nd minute of the game, midfielder Yosuke Hanya sealed the deal with the team's second goal of the night. Hanya has now scored in all four matches for Rapids 2 and leads the team with four goals.
- Rapids 2 recorded its fourth win of the season in tonight's match versus Earthquakes II. With its win tonight, Rapids 2 is the only undefeated team in MLS NEXT Pro.
- M Yosuke Hanya scored his fourth goal of the season in tonight's match against Earthquakes II. He has now scored in all four regular season matches for Rapids 2 and leads the team with four goals.
- F Pariss Mitchell recorded his first-ever goal for the club in tonight's match versus Earthquakes II. The goal also marks his first-ever goal in a professional match.
- D Jackson Travis earned his first assist of the season in tonight's match versus Earthquakes II
- Rapids 2 earned its first clean sheet of the season in tonight's match versus Earthquakes II
- Goalkeeper Diego Gurrola made his professional debut tonight for Rapids 2 after stepping on for Abraham Rodriguez in the 26th minute
- Defender Steve Flores, midfielder Daouda Amadou and forward Pariss Mitchell all appeared in the starting XI for the first time this season in tonight's match versus Earthquakes II
- Defender Daniel Garcia and midfielder Rémi Cabral both made their return from injury and appeared in their first match of the season for Rapids 2 in tonight's game versus Earthquakes II
Select postgame quotes transcribed below.
COLORADO RAPIDS 2 HEAD COACH ERIK BUSHEY
On the match:
“I am proud of the players. I think I say that each game, but it holds true each game. The story of the first half is Abraham Rodriguez going out with injury. He is somebody that we have relied upon to help us get the victories that we have secured thus far. I think that was a greater challenge than even the opponent at that point. We had to be able to respond to losing our leader. For the guys in terms of soccer, we had to be smart. We wanted to protect Diego (Gurrola). It was his first-ever true minutes and I think he was an absolute warrior in the game. He had a massive save in the second half. Overall, his presence and his willingness to manage the game made me really proud of him. The guys played some good soccer even when San Jose asked some good questions. We had to answer them many times defensively. We had to stay aggressive in terms of being on the front foot and pressing. Similar to the first game of the season, I think we could have done better in the first half and that was a focus of ours at halftime, to try to get after them with possession and out of possession. Our first goal was a byproduct of that. Again, the guys answered the call and the challenge that was put before them. We certainly had to defend the majority of that second half. The goal early in the half allowed us to do that without panicking and without feeling more pressure than we might have if we didn't have the lead. I am really proud because the energy that it took to defend over the second half was a lot. We defended our box well. I said pregame that this was going to be a critical piece of winning the boxes. We were able to do that and we were able to keep a clean sheet, which is something we have been seeking as a team. It was wonderful to get the second goal at the end. It was an incredible effort and another very good sign of character and team. I think that needs to be noted. This is a difficult league to create that culture and that dynamic because players are coming in and out all the time. I hope the players can continue to work at that level because it is quite impressive."
On the first clean sheet of the season:
“We pulled Blake (Malone) and Daniel (Chacón) in when we thought the sub was going to have to be made. We didn't have to adjust immediately from a tactical standpoint, but we did look to simplify a little bit to make sure there wasn't any unnecessary pressure coming at Diego (Gurrola) immediately. There would be time whether it came through pass backs or saves that he would find himself in the game. At that point, he would just be a soccer player again as opposed to a young kid stepping into his first professional game. We were very secure in possession. We did not lose the ball in dangerous areas and we were able to go quite a while before he had to make his first save. His first introduction into the game was a pass back, so we were under control of the ball at that point. I think there is a lot of credit to the guys in front of Diego. I don't think if anybody else was watching that they would notice that we have adjusted for a young kid coming in goal. He is on the roster, so if he is called upon he is expected to do a job and he did that."
On the team's next steps:
"I hope we continue to be humble and keep our feet firmly on the ground. We are only four games into 28. You can pick any of those. They are all going to be of great value. Even post game we were talking about our goals and those are still based on the individual. I believe strongly that the better the team is and the more cohesion the team shows, the more the individual will prosper. I think sometimes the lines aren't as blurred as they may seem. A lot of people think that is has to be one or the other, you either work for the team or you work for the individual. I don't believe that. I think they are attached at the hip and you can't develop one without developing the other. The goals of our individual players haven't changed after tonight's win. Perhaps for some they have been given a boost. The road is long and the journey is hard, so what is next is to persevere and to keep going."
COLORADO RAPIDS 2 FORWARD PARISS MITCHELL
On the match:
“I thought the team got a well deserved win. Overall, we didn't back down from any challenges and we just faced everything head on. Throughout the entire match, we never gave up."
On getting his first start of the season:
“Leading up to that point, it took a lot of work. The positive feeling of that moment humbled me. I have a lot of improvement left and I have a lot of things I can work on, but I think this team needs people that are always giving their 100% and are willing to put in the work to win."
On scoring his first-ever professional goal: _
"Coach is always talking about being on the front foot and anticipating the next play. As I saw Jackson (Travis) receive that ball in flight, I was just anticipating getting forward with some speed and aggression. My first touch allowed me to head towards the goal and I just slotted it in once I saw the chance. My first-ever professional goal means a lot to me. All of the hard work I was putting in over the years has led up to this point. I hope that I can see more goals in the future."
On being the only undefeated team in the league: _
"Grit is the number one thing for us. We never give up and we always just give our all in the entire 90 minutes of the match. This should show the league that we are aiming to be the best and win the whole thing."
On earning the first clean sheet of the season:
"As a team, we were able to block the defensive channels and we prevented them from playing balls inside the box. I think that is exactly what kept the game in our favor. We made the opposition frustrated with our defense because they kept turning the ball over and we kept staying on the front foot. In attacking transition, we were able to give them our all."