Rainy Raps rebut Revs in Desert Diamond Cup match
Colorado attack mounts comeback against New England at Kino
The Colorado Rapids and New England Revolution will open up the MLS on March 4 with a match in Commerce, Colorado. The two teams had a rainy dress rehearsal for that match on Saturday afternoon. Colorado’s Caleb Calvert had a brace that gave his side a 3 - 1 win over the Revs.
It was the first preseason match with the Revolution’s attack at full strength with Juan Agudelo returning from U.S. national team duty. The team’s front line infiltrated Colorado’s usually stingy defense on several occasions, Agudelo, wearing a clear plastic mask due to a facial injury he suffered against Panama, scored for the Revs after Chris Tierney sent a corner kick into the box.
The wind shifted, quite literally, and a light but cold and steady rain started to fall on the pitch a bit past the half-hour mark. The change in weather marked a change in the game as well. Colorado’s better organized attack started to threaten. In minute 44, Arizona-born Tony Cascio, back in the Colorado line-up after stints at Houston, Orlando City and Arizona United, crossed the ball to Calvert, who snuck it just past New England Keeper Brad Knighton.
It only took a minute for the once-and-future Rapid to score a second assist, this one off of a pass he sent to Dominique Badji.
Colorado’s third goal came near the 60-minute mark, with Calvert scoring this time from the far end of the box. A mass substitution followed for the Rapids; the new group included Shkelzen Gashi.
The Desert Diamond Cup continues on Wednesday with “non-gated” matches. Colorado will face off with New York City FC, and the Revolution will face Sporting Kansas City.
Colorado’s defense was one of the best of the 2016 campaign, but the team often came up short in situations where they had to come back. This wasn’t the issue on Saturday.
“This is a huge psychological lift for the group,” said Colorado coach Pablo Mastroeni. “We talked about it all last year. Just because you get scored on it’s not the end of the game...To bounce back and really take the game and impose themselves is fantastic. It will pay dividends.”
Finishing: it's not just for wooden cabinets
Despite the result, there were some bright spots for the Revolution. Agudelo easily fit back into the line-up after missing three weeks of preseason, and goalkeeper Cody Cropper, a late-season acquisition, played the last half hour of the match and didn’t get scored on despite Colorado’s barrage.
In a way, you can chalk up the Rev’s problems to simple math: a 1 - 0 lead is easier to come back from than a bigger one. The team failed to finish more chances when they dominated the match early on.
“One of the things that we want to take away is that we could’ve been a little cleaner in front of goal and finished our chances,” said coach Jay Heaps. “But the chemistry was good and that’s a positive.”
Among the trialists and bench players the Revolution brought into the game late in the match was FC Tucson player Kalem Scott. Scott came on as a guest player replacing former Arizona United center back London Woodberry in minute 71.
Ted Prezelski writes about all things soccer, fútbol and piłka nożna for TucsonSentinel.com and at the blog How Flair is Punished (mindingthe.net).