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Rapids Go Through Desert Friendlies

The Colorado Rapids will play three friendlies in Arizona this week, with a roster of 26 players.

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8 Total Updates since January 29, 2013
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A Contract For A Goal? Probably Not, Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith scored on Saturday? Cool. It won't have much bearing on his contract status.

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Rapids 1 Quakes 0 - Lol Preseason (Wins)

The preseason madness that was the Desert Friendlies concluded on Saturday with a match against the San Jose Earthquakes.

In the first half, neither team scored, even as the Rapids had the better half. As such, we won't talk about it!

The most notable lineup change saw Jamie Smith coming on for his first appearance in the preseason, working to try and get a contract from the club. Interestingly, he was put in as a forward alongside Andre Akpan and Dillon Serna.

Smith made the appearance count, putting in an easy finish in the 66th minute off a fantastic cross by Andre Akpan. All three forwards were involved in the play, something that is good to see as we continue to watch the team adapt to the 4-3-3 formation for the second season. Chris Klute had the hockey assist, launching Akpan up the left side in the first place.

Alas, there would be no goonie time as the Rapids kept possession for almost the entire rest of the half, finishing off the 1-0 win easily.

Not much to say about this one, really. Can we get some actual games some time soon?

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Dynamo 1, Rapids 0 - Lol Preseason

The Colorado Rapids shuffled the deck a bit to start their game against the Houston Dynamo on Thursday night, but the end result was just about as blah as Game No. 1 against Portland.

Only a minute into the game, we saw our first goal. The Rapids had the pressure for about 50 seconds, but a quick counter-attack led to Jason Johnson feeding Calum Elliot with nobody in front of him. Steward Ceus couldn't do much about the shot, and the Rapids ended up with a 1-0 loss.

Unsurprisingly, it was a very chippy game right from the outset and a lot of takeaways and set pieces were the result. Colorado couldn't find that goal they wanted in the first half, but they had plenty of chances through Tony Cascio and Kory Kindle on the left side of the field.

The second half brought the attack of the trialists for the Rapids with Brendon Griffiths, Cesar Romero, Clint Irwin and Walter Martinez on the pitch.

Bless their hearts, those trialists tried their hardest to get that goal back. There was plenty of good attacking play out of the group, with Cesar Romero getting the best of the chances through the half, but they couldn't find the final touch they needed and the game predictably sputtered to a 1-0 final.

The only problem with the game, of course, was ANTHONY WALLACE INJURED HIMSELF AGAIN OH MY GOD I WILL KICK YOU IN YOUR JELLO ANKLES, WALLY.

...OK, I said it, I feel better.

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Rapids Trialists: Rising, Falling Stocks

Which of the unsigned players who played against Portland raised their stocks? Who lowered their stock?

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Martin Rivero Injured In Desert Friendly

More details as they emerge: Martin Rivero went down with a nasty looking injury against Portland.

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Who is Jimmy Maurer?

Who were we expecting to be the most intriguing trialist for the Rapids going into the Desert Friendlies in Arizona?

Perhaps it was Kory Kindle, who despite being the second-round pick by the Rapids has still not been signed to a contract. Maybe we thought Jamie Smith would show up and play his best ball ever so he could try to earn a job. Walter Martinez was an intriguing character as well, coming off of World Cup appearances to join with his country-man, Hendry Thomas.

I'm fairly sure that nobody would have said 'Jimmy Maurer' when asked that question. Hell, I'm pretty sure nobody knew who Jimmy Maurer was prior to the game against the Portland Timbers on Tuesday.

Well, we know who he is now!

Maurer had, without a doubt, the most eye-opening performance of anyone the Rapids sent out on Tuesday. His string of saves in the second half on some not-too-shabby Portland chances was fantastic, and the Rapids probably would have lost 4-1 or 5-1 if not for his heroics. He did allow two goals, but it's hard to put any semblance of blame on him for either of them. (Honestly, both goals were hard to put on anyone, they were just incredibly well taken strikes.)

So who is this guy, who suddenly looks like he has the inside track to the third goalie job behind Matt Pickens and Steward Ceus?

Maurer has played a grand total of zero minutes in Major League Soccer, but he was on the New York Red Bulls for a short amount of time following his selection in the 2011 Supplemental Draft. He spent time with the Atlanta Silverbacks (a team that the Rapids seem to enjoy getting former talent from recently!) and was most recently in the second level of the Chilean league with Club Deportivo Universidad de Concepción, where he only received one appearance.

Certainly not the most impressive resume in the world, but that's not what we're interested in from the 24-year-old. We're interested in a guy who can stick as the third keeper and perhaps be a growth prospect for the future if he sticks around for seven or eight years. Ian Joyce didn't fit that bill, as he hit his ceiling quickly and never really managed to push Steward Ceus.

After that performance against Portland, Maurer could be that young guy with potential that the Rapids are seeking. If he's only getting the one game audition, he certainly couldn't have done much better.

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Rapids Fall 3-1 To Timbers To Start Preseason

It was a blustery day in Arizona as the Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers kicked off their pre-seasons, and the incredibly windy weather didn't help an already sloppy affair as the Rapids fell 3-1.

The Rapids started a fairly mundane lineup, featuring Atiba Harris as their center forward and Brian Mullan as their starting right back in the more interesting moves. Past that, it was a fairly expected group: Martin Rivero, Pablo Mastroeni and Hendry Thomas in the midfield, and easy to guess wingers. There was good news though, Anthony Wallace was back in business with the start!

As we expected, the game was incredibly sloppy. To wit: it took until the 22nd minute for the first good chance of the game for either team, at least one that wasn't a failed set piece, when Kamani Hill slammed it into the crossbar from 20 yards out.

Portland opted to play a highly pressurized game by pressing whoever had the ball, trying to work more on the counter-attack with through balls to Darlington Nagbe. Though it took a while for the team to start holding the ball better, Colorado was opting to try and hold the ball and work it up to a roaming Martin Rivero as a link to the forwards. That's likely a preview of the sort of soccer we can expect them to try all season.

Diego Valeri scored the first goal of the game in the 28th minute when the Timbers earned a free kick right outside the box and curled a perfect ball right into the low corner, untouched. Colorado's play was a bit better after the goal, but they were never able to find the back of the net and it was 1-0 going into halftime.

In the second half, as expected, the Rapids changed their entire starting XI, including putting all three SuperDraft picks onto the field.

With the two backup teams on the field, the Rapids immediately showed much better than they did in the first half. DeShorn Brown and Andre Akpan got quick headers toward goal to open the scoring chances of the second half, and the possession game worked far better. Colorado dominated the first eight minutes or so of the second frame, even as they didn't get a goal.

If there was one guy that made a solid name for himself in the half, it was trialist goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer. After the Timbers started to get back into the game, he was forced into a string of three or four fantastic saves, and Oscar Pareja will have plenty of reasons to give the former Silverbacks 'keeper the advantage in the race to win the third goalie spot behind Matt Pickens and Steward Ceus.

He couldn't do much about the second-half goal scored by Kalif Alhassan for Portland, a big chip from just outside of the box in the 62nd minute.

Down 2-0 and already suffering one bad-looking injury to Martin Rivero, the Rapids played with a little less intensity following the Alhassan goal. It was not too much of a surprise when Jose Valencia finished off the scoring for Portland with a dribble through the defense and a fabulous in the 79th minute. A few more big Jimmy Maurer saves kept the goal-count at three.

Though the game was essentially over, the Rapids kept trying to attack and a triple-salvo from the Rapids draft picks earned a goal for the burgundy boys. Dillon Powers launched Kory Kindle up the sideline, where he shot a perfect ball onto the head of DeShorn Brown. The ball nicked right underneath the crossbar to kill the shutout hopes for Portland.

It being the first preseason game of the season, there is just about nothing that can actually be gleaned from this game. Seriously. Don't try to analyze it with any real level of seriousness, because there are still fitness and chemistry issues abound with this squad. Just be glad that there's finally some Rapids soccer back on our computer screens.

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