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 Colorado Rapids 2

Colorado Rapids 2 Fall to Tacoma Defiance in Second Match of the 2024 MLS NEXT Pro Season

March 25, 2024 - MLS NEXT Pro (MLS NEXT Pro)
Colorado Rapids 2 News Release

Colorado Rapids 2 (1-1-0, 3 pts) fell short to Tacoma Defiance (2-0-0, 6 pts) in a 4-2 result at Starfire Sports Complex on Sunday night. Seattle Sounders Academy product and Rapids 2 midfielder Marlon Vargas was able to pull a goal back right before the half off an assist from Rapids First Team midfielder Wayne Frederick. However, Tacoma found their stride and scored two more goals in the second half to capture the three points on the night. Defender Joshua Belluz found the back of the net on his first-ever MLS NEXT Pro goal while midfielder Robinson Aguirre recorded his first assist of the 2024 campaign in the 77th minute. The night was highlighted by the substitutions of Rapids Academy players Colton Swan and Miguel Alvarado who both made their professional debut during the match against Tacoma.


Rapids 2 midfielder Marlon Vargas scored his second goal of the season in tonight's match against his former side Tacoma Defiance.

Rapids 2 defender Joshua Belluz scored his first-ever MLS NEXT Pro goal in tonight's match against Tacoma Defiance. Belluz scored his first-ever professional goal during the team's U.S. Open Cup match against Azteca FC on Thursday night.

Rapids 2 midfielder Robinson Aguirre added his first assist of the 2024 season in the game against Tacoma Defiance.

Rapids First Team midfielder Wayne Frederick recorded his first assist in MLS NEXT Pro play in tonight's game versus Tacoma Defiance.

Rapids Academy players Miguel Alvarado and Colton Swan made their professional debuts in tonight's match against Tacoma Defiance.

Rapids 2 defender Joshua Belluz and midfielder Ricardo Peña made their first-ever starts for the team in tonight's match against Tacoma Defiance.

Rapids 2 forward Patrick Dormoh made his first appearance for the team of the 2024 campaign in tonight's game against Tacoma Defiance.

The entirety of the Rapids 2 bench during tonight's match was made up of amateur players and Rapids Academy players.

Rapids 2 snapped their seven-match unbeaten streak during tonight's loss against Tacoma Defiance. The streak lasted from September 3, 2023, to the team's first match of the 2024 MLS NEXT Pro season on March 17, 2024.


On the match:

"Obviously, a very difficult game. A good team, a team that is going to continue to do well this season. They came out fast and there was a lot of pressure, but we expected that. I felt the first 15 minutes would be important for us to show we could play, show we could be brave. We certainly had some good moments in there and then I think they scored right at the 15-minute mark. The second goal we concede, it puts more pressure on us. It was a tough mistake that we got punished for. The theme of the night was that we will continue to work and continue to answer the call and to not shy away from the challenges we are being faced with. Then, when we scored the goal in injury time in the first half, it was just a big emotional boost. I knew similarly that the start of the second half was going to be key. I knew we were going to be emotionally charged and I didn't want to lose that momentum. So, when we conceded three and a half minutes in, that was actually the test of all tests, even more so than going down 4-1. We were willing to give so much energy, but we needed soccer to back us up, we needed better defending to back us up. If we didn't do things well, we got punished and that was the game. Even at 4-1, there wasn't any quit. I am wondering if we are thinking about going 2-1 or are we thinking about going down 3-0, which one is going to drive us. In this case, if we are down 4-1, are we thinking about trying to get it back to 4-2 or are we worried about going 5-1? I think what the guys showed was that we wanted to get to 4-2 and if we got to 4-2 then maybe we can get to 4-3. People who didn't watch the game might find it difficult to see that we could've won the game tonight. It wasn't always because we were the better side, but we created enough chances to score goals. We didn't and they did and that is football. We take our lumps but for me, I am super proud and believe that tonight can serve as a great foundation for future success."

On the lessons learned on the defensive end of the pitch:

"Well, we have to get better. When we met after the game, it was about reflecting on the game from or with a critical eye. We are not where we want to be. I think everybody understands that in the locker room. What they did tonight was create a foundation for us to get there. Now, let's see how we can put better soccer with it, let's see how we can put better defending with it. Tacoma is a great example of a team who has elite level athletes and quite a few of them, but certainly on the width. That's what you deal with in the first division, the wide guys are big time athletes, and they are going to be difficult to deal with. So one, we had to deal with that as an individual, you have to win your individual battle, even if athletically you are not at the same level. Collectively, we have to be able to help solve those problems. If a guy feels better because they have cover, if they feel better because they know their teammate knows how to support them, then they become a more confident player and they will be more prepared to win their individual battle. It just kind of goes round and round. Identifying the opponent's strengths and being able to adapt and overcome them. Great lessons learned."

On Rapids Academy players making their professional debut:

"Our entire bench tonight was amateur or academy players. They were difference makers when they came on. It is exciting every time we are able to utilize the younger talent. They have been doing it consistently. Most of these guys are regular trainers with us and so they deserve the right to get time. These weren't throw-away minutes, these were subs made to help us get back in the game and still fight for a win, so I am pleased. Chris Cartlidge and Elliot Prost and Janny Rivera and the boys are doing really fine jobs. The fact is tonight we are putting in 16 or 17-year-olds and the opponent is putting in 27-year-olds. I don't care what the opponent does, but it speaks to the type of experience that these young men are getting. They are our future and their futures are very bright."


On the match:

"It was a tough game. Obviously, we didn't get the result we wanted. They are a really good team at home. It was another game, like St. Louis, where it is tough to play at their home. They are really well structured, and I think it is really tough to play against a team like this. They have a really good atmosphere as well. We need to just keep our heads up high. The game is over with, and we need to move on and focus on LAFC2 and hope to get a positive result back at home."

On the team's defensive efforts:

"I think they are mistakes we are willing to take, especially the way we like to play. I think we can definitely be sharper in areas defensively, not just our center backs but everyone together. We need to move together, step up together. It's more of a unity type of mentality and everyone needs to know their roles within that, in terms of the press and in terms of how Tacoma wants to play by exposing us. I think there is a learning experience there and we can take this game and learn from it and apply it to our next match against LAFC2."

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