Many-a Rapids supporter knew that this team had more talent than their record showed. And now, with a new (interim) coach, a new lineup that seems to match the strengths of the roster, and a developing chemistry, the Colorado Rapids are looking more formidable after a 3-2 win at home against the Columbus Crew.
Here are some rapid fire takeaways from Sunday’s game:
- The Rapids have now won two in a row for the first time since August of 2018—yes, it’s been over nine months.
- The consistency and chemistry under interim head coach Conor Casey are much better. Yes, it’s only two wins, but in comparison to what we saw under coach Anthony Hudson, a sense that things are turning around approaches. While Casey is 2W-2L-0D in his start with the Rapids, it’s nice to see something coming together.
- In their two wins, the Rapids have scored late in the match: Nicolas Mezquida in the 89th this past weekend and Andre Shinyashiki in the 82nd minute against the LA Galaxy last Sunday. This speaks not only to the tenacity of the offense in keeping pressure, but also to the defense for keeping them in the games.
- Speaking of Mezquida, his role in the last two games as a sort of super-sub has worked out very well for the Rapids. When Sam Nicholson came off due to cramping (according to Casey), Mezquida was able to come in and provide energy later in the game, and has shown flashes of brilliance like he did this past Saturday.
- Kudos to Tommy Smith. Defender Tommy Smith’s performance has greatly improved since was reinserted into the lineup. Once again, he has proven his worth on set pieces with his goal in the 23rd minute. One wonders if he just needed a couple of games off to clear his head. Or maybe he just needed a change in management.
- We need to give Rapids Front Office credit for bringing in midfielder/forward Jonathan Lewis and defender Lalas Abubakar. Lewis not only has a scoring ability, but also sharp passing and movement into spaces that provide the Rapids with more options and keeps defenses honest. His partnership with Nicholson on the wings is a handful for opposing defenses. Abubakar has been an incredible and much-welcomed ball hawk on the back line. (As you may know, since Abubakar was on loan from Columbus, MLS rules prevented him from playing against the Crew.)
- The question remains as to the coaching search. What is the budget from which they are working? If their budget is limited for whatever reason, will Casey be given a chance for the rest of the season? Is Casey the recipient of that ‘bump’ of managerial change or did he simply learn what not to do by observing Anthony Hudson’s style?
What were your takeaways?
The Rapids (2-9-2, 8 points) have a quick turnaround this week, traveling east to take on the Philadelphia Union (7-4-3, 24 points) at 5:30 MT on Wednesday, May 29th. The game will be broadcast on Altitude and ESPN+ (if you’re out of market).