Though it’s early in the 2022 MLS season, the Colorado Rapids have already been on a roller coaster ride thus far. Whether it’s been a mix of blowout home wins and frustrating road losses, or even within matches where they dominate for 60-70 minutes only to fall away, the team isn’t letting the peaks and valleys wear on them, insists defender Keegan Rosenberry.
“I think there’s an energy about us that knows what we’re doing works, and we’re confident, and it’s just looking to set things right, looking to get the next chance,” he said.
Colorado’s recent run of four matches without a win began with controlling most of the match, only to be drawn by a last-second long-range equalizer in Houston. An arguably soft penalty kick earned RSL a draw in Commerce City the following week. While the last two road matches, each a multi-goal loss in Dallas and Minnesota, saw Colorado outshoot both opponents, be level at halftime, and control the pace of play for much of the second halves.
And instead of being rewarded the Rapids have two points to show of a possible 12.
The Rapids could easily let frustration and doubt creep in, but Keegan told Burgundy Wave that couldn’t be further from the truth after some tough results.
“I feel like the mood is still eager,” he explains. “If you look at the last three games that we’ve had, I think everybody would agree we’ve had chances to win the game. We’re just eager to create those opportunities and capitalize on it.”
“I don’t think we’re worried about capitalizing on the chances we’re making because obviously, the concerning part is the way we’re giving up goals. But again, it almost comes in parts of the game where there are some really, really good opportunities, and we find ourselves down.”
That’s the odd thing is that there are plenty of things working well for the Rapids thus far. For most of matches, the back three has defended very well in one on one situations. The midfield has been an area of control by Mark-Anthony Kaye and Jack Price. Shots and shots-on-goal are being created and Diego Rubio, Johnathan Lewis, Andre Shinyashiki, even Rosenberry have hammered multiple well-struck balls, only for them to miss the frame by fractions.
It would also be easy for players to feel a bit hard done by when it seems many bounces or deflections have gone against them in recent weeks. Hitting the woodwork twice in Minnesota, world-class saves from goalkeepers on the doorstep of taking a lead, or moments of chaos in front of goal leading to a scramble and picking the ball out of their own net – all seem to have come about in this current four-match stretch.
However, Rosenberry, in his fifth season with the club, and his teammates aren’t ones to throw up their arms as if there’s nothing else the Rapids can do. He knows the chances need to be converted, and just doing one little thing extra here and there could make the difference in finishing two goals up instead of two behind.
“I think the only thing I can learn is that, so in the past two games we’ve been 1-1, and then we go down 2-1, and maybe that’s when it’s like, do we need to just barely force something? Minor things, how many touches are we taking? Try to do something extra? It’s not getting bored with things when they’re working well.”
Colorado returns home for their next two matches and some well-needed time at altitude. On top of that, the Rapids catch a break in the schedule, getting new expansion side Charlotte at just the right time.
Keegan says the team will look to take advantage of that again as they did early in 2022 with dominant wins over Atlanta and SKC. “It is nice to be home because with the success we’ve had at home we’ve realized how much the altitude affects people.”
“If we can continue to play the ball the way we want to, keep the ball, move the ball around, we know that by 50-60 minutes they’ll be struggling. I experienced it when I came here, it hurts,” he admits with a laugh.
“There’s no secret that results are going to turn the opinion outside and re-energize us for sure. But coming here helps a lot. It’s no secret across the league that you get your points at home.”