Colorado Rapids forging defensive identity under Robin Fraser

Colorado Rapids head coach Robin Fraser. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Colorado Rapids head coach Robin Fraser. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Colorado Rapids are an intriguing team, one that could be a dark horse out of the Western Conference. The main reason for this is because the Rapids have the potential to be a good team defensively.

The Rapids have been impressive defensively on the road, with two shutouts (a tie and a win this past weekend) to pace the team to a 1-1-1 start to the MLS season. This past weekend, the defense was solid in a 1-0 win at the Vancouver Whitecaps.

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For the Colorado Rapids, the three points this weekend was a big boost and another sign that, defensively, they have the potential to life a team that is still coming together in the final-third.

“The mentality has been great. They’ve really embraced working hard, defending hard on the road and making the game difficult for the opponent,” Colorado Rapids head coach Robin Fraser said after the game.

“I think that’s had a lot to do with it. And I think a number of our players in the back part of the field have had good games in both road games. I think Danny [Wilson] has been really good in both games. All the defenders around him have worked really hard. I just think overall our team mentality has been excellent. Today, Kellyn’s [Acosta] work was excellent. Drew [Moor] came in and was solid. Really, I could go through the whole team because it doesn’t happen without the kind of work we get from Diego [Rubio] and Johnny [Lewis] toward the end. Overall, the mentality has been great on the road so far.”

The Rapids are at an interesting point of their rebuild in Fraser’s third season with the club. They are a young team that has accumulated some veteran players such as forward Diego Rubio, who scored the game’s lone goal this past weekend.

It shouldn’t be a tremendous surprise that the Rapids are forging a tough identity defensively. Fraser, during his playing days in MLS and with the United States National Team, was a standout defender known for his positional savviness and tactical acumen.

The Rapids haven’t made consecutive playoff appearances since the 2011 season. Now if they can begin to score goals, it could be a tough Colorado Rapids team this year. One ready to take a step forward.

“I think we could’ve scored more goals, but a win is a win. It’s good that we had chances, we just need to finish them, have more of a killer instinct,” Rubio said after the win. “But it’s good—we won 1-0 away and now it’s time to start winning and at least have this same mentality that we had today in every game.”

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