The Colorado Rapids are changing things up for preseason this year, heading to Florida and California instead of Arizona. In their two games so far, they’ve tallied one loss and one win.
While in Florida, they scrimmaged new-MLS side FC Cincinnati on Saturday, February 2nd, ultimately losing 1-0 on a set piece goal in the 59th minute. The game wasn’t streamed, but according to the official recap, the Rapids had a couple of chances. After the game, head coach Anthony Hudson said: “It’s given us a good idea of where we’re at physically. I think that might have been the second or third game for Cincinnati and that showed.”
While most of us don’t give much weight to preseason, Cole Bassett believes that the match was an indication that the team needs to do better. “There were a couple times when were kind of off, as far as timing on passes,” he said. “For the most part it was a good start, but we have a lot more that we need to build on because if we want to go deep the in the playoffs this year we need to be at a higher level.”
After spending a couple of days at home after training in Florida, the Rapids left town again for Chula Vista, California (just south of San Diego).
On Saturday, February 9th, the Burgundy Boys easily beat Ventura County Fusion (a USL2 club) 5-0. Nicolas Mezquida and Diego Rubio put in two goals each, and Andre Shinyashiki added another. Hudson felt that the game “was a big improvement from last week in terms of the overall understanding on how we want to play. We focused all week on improving in our midfield, build up and our overall shape and possession. I think there was a big step forward in that.”
Diego Rubio stressed the importance of preseason for team cohesiveness. “I always say that the team is not only 11, it take the entire team. The game was good,” he said. “We scored some good goals and had great chances too. It is so important to keep training, playing, being focus in these first few games and to know each other. It is going to be important during these preseason games.”
That’s my take on preseason, too—it’s valuable for everyone to get playing time together, but wins or losses just don’t matter that much until they step on the pitch on March 2nd. (Which they will do without hardly any training at altitude, but that’s a different issue.)
Next up is Toronto FC on Tuesday, February 12th and then the Rapids are heading to Vegas to play the Las Vegas Lights FC on Saturday, February 16th.