Recap | Vargas climbs atop MLS NEXT Pro leaderboard, Rapids 2 fall to SKCII in Western Conference matchup 

Game-Recap_1920x1080 (1)

The Big Picture  

Colorado Rapids 2 (1-2-1, 4 pts) fell to Sporting Kansas City II 2 (2-2-0, 6 pts) 3-5 at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium on Sunday night. Despite going down early and launching a comeback to end the first half, the visitors took control of the second-half scoring to finish the match. Marlon Vargas, Patrick Dormoh and Alec Díaz each notched a goal in the contest. Multiple Rapids recorded firsts in the Western Conference matchup, including first assists of the season for Academy product Noah Strellnauer, Daouda Amadou and Daniel Garcia, and a first professional goal for Dormoh. Forward Facundo Núñez made his MLS NEXT Pro debut in the contest, as well.  


·         Rapids 2 midfielder Marlon Vargas scored his fourth goal in as many games, finding the back of the net in the 30th minute.  

·         Vargas is now tied for goals scored in MLSNP with four.  

·         Strellnauer, Amadou and Garcia all recorded their first assists of 2024.  

·         Patrick Dormoh and Noah Strellnauer made their first-ever starts for Rapids 2 in tonight’s match against SKCII. 

·         Dormoh recorded his first professional goal in the 23rd minute.

·         Midfielder Daouda Amadou made his first MLS NEXT Pro appearance of 2024 in tonight’s match against SKCII.

·         Academy goalkeeper Kendall Starks was named to the Rapids 2 roster for the first time in his career in tonight’s game against SKCII. 

·         Facundo Núñez made his MLSNP debut against SKCII, recording fifteen minutes to close the second half.  

Postgame Media Availability: 

·         Head Coach Erik Bushey 

·         Rapids 2 midfielder Marlon Vargas 

Select postgame quotes transcribed below. 


On the result against SKCII 

Gutted, once again, for the players as much as anything, you had a slow start to the game I thought and then an incredible answer, which was great to see. So we know that, in essence, we have the capacity to do good things, if not great, at the end of a long spell of a lot of soccer. And perhaps it took its toll a little bit in the in the second half, perhaps you could prepare the players a little bit more in terms of how to guard against some, maybe some of those tired legs or tired brains, but you know, we're still early in the season. So we still want to come out and attack. And in doing so perhaps we got a bit stretched out, make a few mistakes. Credit to SKCII, who was able to punish us, and then all of a sudden, the nerves ramp up. It's like, okay, it's slipping, can we get it back, and then we didn't get it back. It's a very difficult result to take four goals in quick succession, however quick it was, but it's early on and we have to live and learn. We're a young team tonight. And I'm grateful for what is a very tough game, we will learn from it and we'll see how individuals respond by taking a hit in the stomach as we did tonight. So it's not the way you want to learn but that's the way it is. So now we recover and we move on to the weekend. 

On the impact of young players in the game 

We flew three guys back from Florida this week from our academies from a very important event, Generation adidas Cup, and the guys just got off the plane yesterday, won the night before, [so I’m] super pleased. After we concede a goal Patrick [Dormoh] knocks his first goal in and it’s brilliant. The first comment at halftime, I was looking at Patrick with a big smile on my face like, ‘Where did that come from? Let's get more of it.’ Ultimately, it's difficult, right? Because you have a lot of different players in there. We got young guys experience, it's true, it's a fact and it is exciting every time that it happens. So it is one of the positives tonight, the number of younger players, number of amateur players again, guys competing in Florida on one day, on a plane the same day, playing the next day. They're living the life. It's brilliant...I hate to say it, it kind of sounds negative, but we're closer to the end of our careers than we are to the start of them. But it's meant to bring out that every day is just that important. So if we say too much about it, it was great to have the young guys gain such experience, it could to some level discount those slightly older players, because they're all young. So we're trying to have a balance there, right? It's experience for everybody, young or less young. It's a tough experience to take. But it is valuable experience. So happy for those guys. I'm sad that they won't feel as neat as it might have had the result gone our way. It's quickly forgotten, but it is a positive. 

On midfielder Marlon Vargas’ growth and leadership 

He’s doing a bit of everything, and to be honest, is doing too much. I'm grateful for the work and his willingness to do it. I just talked about it now in the locker room, he's a player within the group, we understand that he's a captain. He's a playmaker. He's a goal scorer. He's an assist getter. He's a coach while he's on the field, which is part of the role of being captain. He's an interpreter. He's liaison from coach to player. On the field, off the field, he's doing a lot and he's still producing. He needs to stay strong because there's a lot of weight on his shoulders. But there will be great things that come from it, so hard to say too many good things right now that Marlon is giving and if he can continue to do that, which is no easy task, and guys can support him and then join him greatness will await. 


On the result against SKCII  

It's frustrating and difficult, obviously, we had the 3-1 lead at half, we started off the game a little bit slow. But the boys responded really well. And then going into the second half, I just thought we got very complacent. It wasn't good enough from everyone, including myself, as a captain, trying to hold players accountable, hold myself accountable as well. It just wasn't good enough. And obviously it wasn't the result we wanted, especially at home. Again, we just got to go into training this week and try getting better and see where we can improve and hopefully get a good result at Portland. 

About maintaining his form of four goals in four games 

It’s just about being consistent. It's hard being consistent. Like today, I did get a goal, but I don't think I played my best game. To me, the level of performance for myself wasn't good enough in terms of my standard. And obviously, I'm hungry for more. The most important thing for me is helping my team win and helping others, get the best out of them to help the team win. For me, that's the most important thing because I want to get back to winning ways and I'm pretty sure they want to get back to winning ways. We're still early in the season...Erik said it, you don't need to panic, we’ve still got 24 games more to go. It's going to take time, but I'm willing to go to war with these guys. Hopefully we can get back to winning ways and get back into the standings.