Yes, it’s only preseason, but many (most?) of us were super excited for this match because it was somewhat of a preview of the Colorado Rapids home opener vs. New England Revolution on March 4th. (Get your tickets here if you haven’t already.)
The Rapids went with a 4-3-3 (as they did with the friendly on Wednesday), and started mostly veterans in the first game of the Desert Diamond Cup.
Your #Rapids96 Starting XI vs. @NERevolution:— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) February 18, 2017
MacMath; Miller, Ford, Sjöberg, Williams; Azira, Cronin, Powers; Callahan, Badji, Calvert. pic.twitter.com/R8DAMJkJbx
I thought the first 20 minutes looked terrible from the field (I was in one of the white tents that you can see on the video), but after rewatching the game, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. The Rapids were pushing up high, and it seemed like the Revs were finding the holes and using some speed to get behind Colorado. New England got into the box way more than they should have. There were a couple times that the back line found themselves out of position, so perhaps communication is still something that needs to be worked on. It’s understandable, considering that there are new players and new combos of players working together back there during these preseason matches.
The Rapids did give the ball away more than I’d like to see, and several times there were turnovers because our guys didn’t step to the ball (or the pass wasn’t all that great to begin with).
Zac MacMath came up with some big saves, but in the 19th minute, Juan Agudelo poked the ball past Dillon Powers on a corner kick. It was disappointing, but it also seemed to give the Rapids the motivation that they needed, and the momentum of the game definitely shifted to the Colorado side after that one. The offense started putting things together, and grabbed a couple goals in the 44th and 45th minute to go up 2-1 at the half.
Caleb Calvert got the first goal with an assist by former Rapid Tony Cascio (a surprise guest who subbed in for Liam Callahan around 30 minutes). Cascio was also responsible for an assist on the second goal that was finished by Dominique Badji.
The Rapids went into the second half with the same squad. The wind really kicked up and the rain started pouring down around 55 minutes, and after a defensive breakdown, Calvert got his second in the 60th minute (with an assist from Sam Cronin). Just after the goal, Pablo Mastroeni subbed out the entire team except MacMath.
61' - Changes on changes on changes.— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) February 18, 2017
MacMath; Castillo, Watts, Burling, Burch; Hamilton, Nana, Perez; Gashi, Hairston, Doyle.
It was cold. And wet. And windy. Both sides kept up the pressure until the final whistle, but the second half was pretty much all Rapids. Ricky Perez almost chipped the goalkeeper, and Dennis Castillo got a shot off, as did Marlon Hairston. Gashi almost had an Olympico off a corner, but the keeper was able to tap it over the goal. Kevin Doyle had a couple shots, including a fourth goal off of a corner in the 72nd minute, but it was called back because Castillo got in the keeper’s way.
Overall, I was psyched to see three legit goals (as in not a goal from a penalty kick). Unfortunately, two of the goals came from a guy who sits the bench and two of the assists came from a guy who isn’t even on the team (though I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cascio listed as a trialist next game). If you missed the game, you can watch it here.
The Colorado Rapids are currently 1-0-1 (WLT) in the Desert Diamond Cup tournament.
How do you feel about the offense after this game?
And now—pictures! Sadly, I’m back in Colorado now, so I won’t have pictures for the next couple Diamond Desert Cup matches, but we’ll still live tweet and post recaps after.