DENVER, Colo. – Colorado Rapids 2 returned to MLS Next Pro play on Saturday afternoon. They had lost four in a row and hosted North Texas SC who had beaten them 3-1 back on April 10. Unfortunately for the Burgundy Boys, that score line would be repeated.
Blown Away: Colorado Rapids 2 Lose Again to North Texas 3-1
Colorado scored against the run of play just five minutes into the game. Darren Yapi intercepted a pass from Lucas Bartlett at midfield. He ran on goal and calmly shot it underneath goalkeeper Antonio Carrera.
North Texas would make it 2-1 before halftime. Hope Avayevu tied it up in the seventh with a sharp angle shot that curled over Abe Rodriguez and inside the far post.
Andrés Torres was called for a foul in the box at the half hour mark. Bernard Kamungo sent the keeper the wrong way, passing the ball into the bottom left corner. In the final minutes of the first half, Avayevu hit the post and José Mulato had a shot cleared by Steve Flores from inside the six.
Rapids 2 started the second half poorly. Collin Smith scored on a second ball off a corner with a great turn and shoot. Avayevu had the assist with his pass being a shot attempt that went right to Smith, who collected it well.
“We concede a soft set piece goal. If we don’t concede that, there’s a chance we stay in the game. I try to give the guys confidence. We are the ones that cause ourself problems with concentration. The other teams capitalize on our mistakes. If we’re cleaner, if we’re concentrated, we can pull out results,” captain and goalkeeper Abraham Rodriguez told Last Word.
Colorado came alive too late, showing life in stoppage time. Yosuke Hanya earned a penalty that Yapi missed. Carrera made a great save on the ensuing corner.
“I didn’t like it. [Carrera] did well to get in my head. I’m not happy with my PK,” Yapi said postgame.
The match ended 3-1.
As has been the case in recent weeks, we make a mistake and get punished. There are areas where we improved. We have to fight through those errors. We can be better in our defending in transition,” Rapids 2 head coach Erik Bushey said.
On the whole, the home side struggled to play out of the back and string passes together in general. Yapi was isolated for much of the game and waited for the game to come to him too often. North Texas had more of the ball and more ideas against a struggling defense. These issues were exasperated by outside back Jackson Travis and center back Mike Edwards being out with injury.
WHAT A STRIKE! pic.twitter.com/j27vdNkNyJ
— MLS NEXT Pro (@MLSNEXTPRO) June 4, 2022
Last Word: Progress and First Team Similarities
This was an improved performance compared to recent weeks, as Yapi spoke about after the match
“We created good chances in the second half. We just lost momentum in the end of the first half. In the press, we were more aggressive. In the Minnesota game we were much more open. One guy would go and the rest wouldn’t. It would leave gaps and that would hurt us.
Rapids 2 are struggling in ways very similar to the first team. Yapi, like Diego Rubio, is the primary source of the offense. When they turnover the ball while trying build out of the back, they give up chances. This is a young team that is taking their lumps at the moment. The defense has been suspect. They need a win.
Photo Credit: Matt Pollard, Last Word on Soccer.
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