The Colorado Rapids got their fourth win in five games by beating Minnesota United on Saturday night. The 1-0 victory marks five games unbeaten for the Rapids, and they are no longer in last place in the Western Conference. Let’s take a look at the lone goal of the game.
Rapids score the only goal (29’)
There really isn’t too much to this goal besides the fact that Kei Kamara is great in the air. If you watch the replay of the goal, you’ll see that Kamara’s defender tries to cut off his run before he can get into a dangerous area.
Lucky for the Rapids, the ball was served deep enough that the defender was all but out of the play by the time he looked up to find the ball. Kamara, being the aerial threat that he is, was able to get up and reach the ball. It ended in the back of the net, and that proved to be all the Rapids needed.
The defense changed everything
In the Rapids’ five-game unbeaten streak, they have only allowed four goals. That comes out to 0.8 goals per game. Those are the kind of numbers the Rapids need to keep up if they want to have any chance of making the playoff conversation.
So, what changed? The Rapids started playing Kellyn Acosta and Jack Price as CDMs next to each other, and the two outside backs have been asked to stay home more than under Anthony Hudson. A lot of this is enabled by the fact that they have wingers to provide width and get numbers forward. Add in the way that Jonathan Lewis and Lalas Abubakar have helped change this team, and we are left with an offense that is just as explosive while the defense has been shored up.
The defense bunkered well
This is an image of MNU’s passing map in the final third from Saturday night. While this is more pass attempts than you would typically want to see, notice how few of the non-red lines are going forward. This means that the Rapids allowed Minnesota up the field relatively easily, but they did a good job of holding their ground once it came to the final third.
This is the kind of 1-0 victory you would see from the Rapids back in 2016. They got their goal, held their ground, and secured a defensively sound win.
Lewis will be missed
While Lewis is at the Gold Cup, it is safe to assume that Andre Shinyashiki and Diego Rubio will likely be filling in on the left wing. While both of them will do a good job of holding down the spot, neither has the electric pace and dynamic playmaking that Lewis has shown in his time here. For that reason, we are gonna miss Lewis for the next few weeks.
Lewis was the perfect compliment to Sam Nicholson, and the two had been shredding defenses together. I’m sure that it will be fine with the other two in the meantime, but I think Lewis will be missed.
Got any other thoughts on the game? Let us know in the comments section!