Don’t look now, but the most overlooked team in MLS is making some noise. The Colorado Rapids are piecing together a solid start to the season, silencing critics about their return to the playoffs a season ago.
To be honest, the Colorado Rapids don’t always grab headlines, the MLS club not embroiled in a love affair with the league website or the darlings of the networks. But that hasn’t stopped Robin Fraser from piecing together a balanced squad, mixing in some very healthy integration from their Academy with some savvy moves this offseason to bolster their squad.
The latest example of what Fraser is building came on Saturday night in a 3-1 home win over the Houston Dynamo. The goals came from Sam Vines (Homegrown), Cole Bassett (Homegrown) and 28-year old Diego Rubio (unwanted by Sporting Kansas City and acquired in a trade two years ago).
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“Houston came in and their game plan was to make it really difficult for us, and playing the back five, they did a good job of taking away a lot of the spaces that we generally want to attack,” head coach Robin Fraser said after the match.
“But I thought our team did a really good job of being patient and moving the ball early in the game, and as a result, we were able to create some good chances and obviously score some good goals. I think that, again, we showed really good character in going 0-0 in the second half and winning by two goals at home. Nothing is ever perfect, but we’re certainly gaining confidence from creating some of the chances and goals that we did and then being able to see these games out last week and this week.”
And the Rapids, yes the overlooked and underappreciated Colorado Rapids, have won three straight games and are now 3-1-1 (10 points) to start the year. They are third in the Western Conference and in the Supporters Shield standings with 10 points.
While the sample size is small, it is nonetheless impressive what the Rapids are doing and building. They have one of the smallest budgets in MLS and Fraser is putting together quite a solid roster while shopping off the rack.
With some investment into the squad in terms of a marquee signing or two, this could be a very dangerous and balanced roster come playoff time.
Against a Dynamo side that secured a road draw a week ago against FC Dallas, the immediate impressions about the match and their play was impressive. They controlled long stretches of the match and defensively, were a very tough side to break down.
“[W]e got a goal in the first half that really opened up the game and then we scored a second one. We let one right in after we scored, didn’t really feel too good, but it was a good response from the guys right after to get another goal and kind of lock down the game,” Vines said after the match. “Just grinded out the whole rest of the second half and did our thing, didn’t let up any goals, didn’t score any goals, but we just locked down the game. A good 3-1 win from the boys.”
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