Rapids 2 Tracker: Young Standouts Finish the Inaugural MLS NEXT Pro Season in Top Form
The Rapids 2 squad competed in its final match of the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season on Sunday evening at Zions Bank Stadium. The team fell short to Real Monarchs in a 2-1 loss, bringing its 2022 season record to 7-11-6 with 31 points earned in 24 matches.
While the playoffs are out of the question for the first-ever Rapids 2 team, the significance of the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro team was not lost on the organization. In six months, the Rapids organization was able to offer many opportunities for growth and development to its young players with many premiering for both the Rapids 2 squad and the first team over the course of the 2022 season. Here's a look at how the Rapids players made an impact at the MLS NEXT Pro and MLS levels during the 2022 season:
Homegrown player Darren Yapi has recently seen a spike in his involvement at the MLS level. After spending a majority of the first half of the 2022 season with Rapids 2, Yapi has now earned more playing time with the first team as they continue to pursue a spot in the MLS playoffs. In the first team's most recent match against LA Galaxy, Yapi recorded 26 minutes on the pitch and managed to put up three shots on target. His MLS season total now stands at nine matches played for a total of 79 minutes on the pitch. Yapi also ended the MLS NEXT Pro season near the top of the Rapids 2 scoring charts with six goals in 16 matches played and tied for the lead in shots on target with 16.
Dantouma "Yaya" Toure
Dantouma "Yaya" Toure was a player to watch this season as he continuously bounced between the Rapids 2 squad and the Rapids first team. Toure kicked off the 2022 season with multiple starts for Rapids 2, earning him a shot at some time with the Rapids' MLS side. Previous to his season-ending knee injury, Toure premiered in five matches for the first team, recording a total of 33 minutes. On August 2, Toure scored his first-ever MLS goal during the team's 5-4 win over the New York Red Bulls. His professional scoring efforts did not end there as he led the Rapids 2 team in goals with eight this season. Toure ended the MLS NEXT Pro season with 14 starts, eight goals, two assists and 16 shots on target.
Defender Anthony Markanich joined the Rapids at the start of the 2022 season and has made a huge impact in both the Rapids 2 and Rapids first team backline. Markanich started the season as a regular in the Rapids 2 starting lineup and has recorded 12 starts for the squad for a total of 1,022 minutes of playing time. In his time with Rapids 2, Markanich recorded five shots on target and 16 successful tackles. He also managed to score his first professional goal in Rapids 2's match against Premier League 2 side Wolves U-21 in the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro Invitational. In conjunction with his time playing for Rapids 2, Markanich has earned three starts with the first team. As of now, he has played 235 minutes on the pitch for the Rapids and has recorded one shot on target.
Rapids Academy product Adam Beaudry has been a standout among young players this season having earned opportunities at both the MLS NEXT and MLS NEXT Pro levels. Beaudry made his Rapids 2 debut in the team's match versus Premier League 2 side Wolves U-21, playing 45 minutes in his first-ever professional match. Since then, Beaudry was selected to compete in the inaugural MLS NEXT All-Star game, which saw the keeper play 45 minutes of the match and make two saves. He also recently earned a call up to the U.S. U-17 Men's Youth National Team where he will compete in the Vaclav Jezek Youth Tournament in the Czech Republic from September 16-26. The team, led by head coach Gonzalo Segares, is set to compete against Slovakia on September 21, Germany on September 23 and Czech Republic on September 25.
Jack Sullivan is a Rapids Academy product who currently competes with the club's U-17 team as a midfielder. During the 2021-2022 Academy regular season, Sullivan appeared in 27 matches for a total of 2,122 minutes on the pitch. Sullivan also added five goals to his offensive statline throughout the season. His standout performances at the Academy level earned Sullivan his first professional opportunity with Rapids 2 on June 4 in the team's match versus North Texas SC. Since then, Sullivan has played in 10 matches for Rapids 2, making one start for the team and recording 174 minutes of play.
Back in June, Homegrown defender Jackson Travis underwent a successful surgery to repair a core muscle injury that he sustained halfway through the Rapids 2 season. He immediately began his rehabilitation process, which was expected to take six to ten weeks barring any complications. Travis has been doing individual field work to progress his fitness and strength as he rounds into week six of his recovery.
Rapids 2 midfielder Dillon Serna has been hard at work in his recovery process. The veteran midfielder underwent a successful procedure to his left tibia in June and immediately began the rehabilitation process, which was expected to last eight to twelve weeks, barring any complications. Serna is now nearly 12 weeks into his recovery and continuing to progress to impact exercises and running with 100% weight bearing.
First team defender Sebastian Anderson has returned to the pitch after missing multiple Rapids 2 and first team matches due to a stress fracture in his right tibia. Anderson's first match back saw the defender record 32 minutes in Rapids 2's win over Houston Dynamo 2. Last week, Anderson was loaned out to USL Championship side Colorado Spring Switchbacks FC for the remainder of the 2022 season.
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