What was a mellow first half turned into a wild and chippy match that saw one player sent off and the Colorado Rapids beat the Colorado Springs Switchbacks 4-1. The Colorado Rapids were definitely the better team and that sends the Rapids through to the next round of the U.S. Open Cup.
The Rapids got off the mark in the 26 minute when Dominique Badji got through the back line of the Switchbacks and tipped the ball past the goalkeeper. It was a beautiful assist by Sam Cronin.
Starting and playing in his first match for the Rapids, Joe Greenspan opened his account by heading in a Dillon Serna free kick. He used his height on the play, the person marking him didn't come up to his shoulder, and he headed the ball back across goal and in off the post.
The second half started quietly enough until Switchbacks' Josh Phillips took out Badji on the sideline after the ball was out of play, earning a red card. While still 10 v 10, Serna played up top, took the ball and worked through the two center backs and fired a laser into the right corner of the net.
The match got even more chippy in the 76' when Serna was called for a foul and the Switchbacks' player got up and pushed Serna who promptly shoved him back. The Switchbacks Kley Bejarano went down like he was hit with a left hook. Serna got lucky, only received a yellow. It could have easily been a red.
In stoppage time the Rapids got a little relaxed and left a player open on the right side of the six yard box and Colorado Springs scored a nice goal. There was nothing Zac MacMath could have done about it.
Right after the kickoff, the Rapids attacked and Luis Solignac got to the endline and crossed the ball. Before it could get to Dillon Serna crashing the back post, the Switchbacks' Jordan Burt tipped the ball in for an own goal to finish the scoring at 4-1.
The Rapids were solid in this match and there was no letdown against a lower division side. This is something that you want in the early rounds of the U.S. Open Cup. Players who haven't been receiving a lot of match time and players returning from injury also got some good fitness time on the pitch.
On the defensive side, Shane O'Neill and Greenspan were excellent together. They did a great job neutralizing the Switchbacks attack. O'Neill had a particularly good, physical match and was seen directing the defensive effort. It was good to have him back in the 18.
The Rapids are back in action in Major League Soccer on Friday night at 7 p.m. at Dicks Sporting Goods Park. The match will be televised on Unimas if you are unable to make it out for the match.