In the season opener versus D.C. United, the Colorado Rapids secured their first win of 2020 thanks to a late Jonathan Lewis goal. Here are three things we learned.
There might have been no better way to kick off the 25th season in Major League Soccer than with a matchup between two founding clubs, D.C. United and the Colorado Rapids. And the result — a last-gasp 2-1 win for the Rapids — was a great indicator Robin Fraser and his players are set to pick up where they left off in 2019.
A strong start might just be exactly what the Rapids need for a playoff berth come October. Their late surge in 2019 wasn’t enough to make up for an abysmal start last March, but the team showed the same spark that Fraser inspired last August, and with a stronger foundation to build on, they might just be right in the running when all is said done.
Here are three things we learned from Saturday afternoon’s season-opening victory.
3. Backline continues improvement
One area of improvement for the Colorado Rapids towards the end of last season was reinforcing a weak backline. Lalas Abubakar’s arrival was crucial to that growth and Robin Fraser’s team sharpened up defensively to support a flourishing attack. It looks as though that improvement is set to stay.
Even though they conceded the first goal of the 2020 season thanks to a Russell Canouse header from a Julian Gressel corner, the Rapids held D.C. United to just 13 shots and four shots on target.
Clint Irwin was poised in his debut as the Rapids starting goalkeeper, making three saves, while an improved backline eased any uncertainty throughout the 90 minutes. We didn’t see offseason acquisition, Auston Trusty, but Abubakar, Keegan Rosenberry, Sam Vines and former Rapids mainstay Drew Moor formed an excellent unit and produced a stifling display.