Burgundy Boys earn a point in Blue Hell
The Rapids remain unbeaten in 6 games, currently in 3rd place in the Western Conference, boast a road record of 5-3-2 and saw Brazilian left back Lucas Esteves make his Rapids debut.
(Image: Colorado Rapids)
"Really hard fought game" said Head Coach Robin Fraser on Saturday night. "Kansas City is one of the most difficult in the league, in my opinion. We had some really good moments to start the game. Made a few mistakes, lost a little bit of confidence. The second half we came out and put together some good play again, but you're never going to beat Kansas City down, and surely enough, they came and came back strong. It was a very, very wide open game at times. Very back and forth".
This is a great summary of a very entertaining game. In the first half the Rapids created a great opportunity down the right flank with Rosenberry hitting a great low ball into Shinyashiki in the box. Shinyashiki took a great first touch and layed it on for the onrushing striker Jonathan Lewis. Lewis took a shot low and to his right but the defender was able to slide in and block it. Luckily the rebound came right back to Lewis who buried it. A well earned goal looked to lift the team in the 17th minute.
SKC looked like a different team as the game developed. After what lookedl ike a soft foul was called against Danny Wilson, the ensuing free kick by fellow Scotsman Johnny Russell tied the game. Nothing Yarbrough could do about it. Later in the game Russell looked like he would score off a cross to the back post. He mishit his shot which led to Auston Trusty being able to clear it off the line. Yarbrough ended the game with 7 saves and once again kept the Rapids in the game.
(Image: Colorado Rapids)
In the 68th minute, the newest member of the Rapids made his debut. Brazilian left back Lucas Esteves and wow does he look the part. The fan base cannot wait to see this guy play more. The Rapids created one last chance right before the final whistle where Bassett hit the crossbar. Some fans have pointed out this mistake and say it cost us a win. Lewis missed an open goal earlier in the game. Yarbrough made several great saves. We can nitpick individual moments if we really want to. But mistakes happen and it's all about moving forward. Overcoming adversity can be very difficult. With Fraser and the rest of the staff fully aware of this, I'm confident they''re creating the right environment for players to handle these situations. Unlucky for Bassett but we move on.
At the end of the day, most Rapids fans are happy with a draw. Hell most teams in MLS are happy drawing SKC in KC. xG was almost dead even, 1.86 for SKC and 1.85 for the Rapids. SKC had 58% possession and had more shots and shots on goal. Once again the second half subs and adjustments by Fraser were on point. This Rapids team knows how to close out games. They've risen their expectations. In the past, many would have expected this team to come up short despite a good effort. That's simply no longer the case.
MLS Power Rankings
The Colorado Rapids moved from 4th to 5th place since last week. NYCFC did beat the best team in the league, the New England Revs 2-0. However, it still seems like this NYCFC team is given preferential treatment by the writers as they're currently in 4th place in the East. But somehow they're #3 overall this week. Rejoice Rapids fans, the second most important thing in these rankings is at #21, FSL. Another fun note, LAFC did NOT somehow remain in the top 10 despite being absolutely terrible this season.
Do these rankings really matter all that much? No. Does it give a good general picture of league strength? Yes. It's simply imperfect. However for Rapids fans it should provide a little extra boost seeing their team being considered a top 5 team in the league. The Revs and NYCFC in the east are great offensive teams that are very hard to play against. Seattle and SKC are considered the strongest teams in the West. It honestly feels right now like we have a top 4 that are on another level. Doesn't really matter how you rank them, they're all capable of winning silverware this year and have the best chances. At the same time, you can't count out teams like Colorado, LA Galaxy, Nashville and Orlando.
However, if the Rapids can get a win against one of the top tier teams this will cement their place near the top. The Rapids don't play Seattle until 10/3 and 10/20, and visit the Revs on 10/27. Until then, the Rapids face San Jose, LA Galaxy, Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps in the next 4 matches. That being said, let's take it one game at a time as HC Robin Fraser loves to point out.
Next Game: at San Jose Quakes on Sept 4
The Quakes remain a tough team to figure out. They are capable of beating the best teams in the league. Yet they're 9th in the West and currently out of the playoffs. With the acquisition of striker Jeremy Ebobisse, this team looks a lot more dangerous. Clearly one of the biggest transfers in the MLS in the past window. They are now unbeaten in 10 games and catching fire. Cade Cowell also returns after taking part in the MLS All Star Game last week. It's been hard to read Matias Almyda and where this team is heading for about 2 years. They are no longer playing the tight man marking that they did last year, which exposed them defensively (allowing 5+ goals in several games).
For the Rapids, we can expect more of the same from HC Fraser. Which is to say it's unpredictable. One thing I can likely guess correctly is that he'll stick with the 532 formation. With international duty over the next two weeks, the Rapids will be without Kellyn Acosta and Mark-Anthony Kaye. Rubio's status is still unclear after being officially listed with an injury last game out. I'll have more on the injury status following this week's press conference. Shameless plug to follow me on twitter @burgundyboys96 for the latest updates.
Collen Warner has done excellent when he's been named to the starting eleven. Fills the defensive midfield role well and is a great partner for Jack Price. Bassett is pretty much a lock with Acosta and Kaye out. The other potential player to be introduced into the starting 11 is Nico Mezquida although I think he comes in off the bench in a role he thrives in. Lewis performed well recently and I'd expect him to partner Barrios in attack. Shinyashiki, Mezquida, Esteves and Badji provide great options off the bench as well. Pictured below from our last outing at SKC, Lucas Esteves and Dom Badji looking fresh and focused.
(Image: Colorado Rapids)
Similar strategy going on the road against San Jose. Expect the Rapids to soak up pressure and spring the counter attack given the chance. This doesn't mean the Burgundy Boys will just sit back and play defense. They're just as capapble of building an attack through possession as they are playing balls over the top or into space on the counter. Currently the Colorado Rapids are in amazing form and are having one of their best ever seasons. The expectation from this coach and this team, is to go to San Jose expecting to win.
Many Rapids fans were not happy with the assessment of their team by national media lately. All of sudden there is no escaping it. This Rapids team is for real. They are serious contenders. The same question remains, if they can actually beat one of the top tier teams in the West. Earning a draw on the road against these teams isn't bad. But the very best teams win against anyone. This Rapids team is very close.
My Predicted XI vs SJ Quakes
Sept. 4 at San Jose, 8:30 p.m. MT, ESPN+ out of market
Altitude Sports TV on Direct TV or AT&T Now
Altitude Sports Radio on 92.5 FM on your radio dial in Denver area
Enjoy the game. Until next time, stay safe out there soccer fans!