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U.S. Open Cup Recap: Colorado Rapids 2 Advances to Second Round of U.S. Open Cup After a 3-0 Win Over Azteca FC

March 22, 2024 - MLS NEXT Pro (MLS NEXT Pro)
Colorado Rapids 2 News Release


The Big Picture

Colorado Rapids 2 will advance to the Second Round of the U.S. Open Cup after defeating Colorado Premier League's Azteca FC in a 3-0 result at DICK'S Sporting Goods Park. Rapids 2 defender Joshua Belluz scored his first-ever professional goal in his professional debut during tonight's match. Rapids First Team Sebastian Anderson was the playmaker of the night, recording two assists from corner kick services. Meanwhile, new Rapids 2 forward Alec Díaz notably scored his first goal for Rapids 2 off an assist from Wayne Frederick who recorded his first club assist in the game against Azteca FC.

Notable:

Rapids 2 advance to the Second Round of U.S. Open Cup after a 3-0 win over Azteca FC.

Rapids 2 defender Joshua Belluz scored his first-ever professional goal in his debut with Rapids 2 during tonight's Open Cup match.

Defender Belluz made his first-ever professional debut in tonight's U.S. Open Cup match.

Rapids 2 defender Daniel Garcia scored the second goal of the night in the match against Azteca FC.

Rapids 2 forward Alec Díaz scored his first goal for Rapids 2 in tonight's match against Azteca FC.

Rapids First Team defender Sebastian Anderson recorded two assists in tonight's match against Azteca FC.

Rapids First Team midfielder Wayne Frederick recorded his first assist for the club in tonight's U.S. Open Cup match.

Homegrown goalkeeper Adam Beaudry recorded a clean sheet in tonight's game against Azteca FC.

Rapids 2 scored two goals off of set piece opportunities in tonight's U.S. Open Cup match.

Postgame Media Availability:

Head Coach Erik Bushey

Rapids 2 defender Joshua Belluz

Select postgame quotes transcribed below.

COLORADO RAPIDS 2 HEAD COACH ERIK BUSHEY

On the match:

"Well, first and foremost, it's great to be here at home, here in the stadium. Grateful for the fans that came out tonight for both teams, Azteca had a nice following as well and I thought that was awesome. Hopefully it was enjoyable for people, I feel good about the soccer that was played. Of course, it's nice to score three goals, it's nice to keep a clean sheet. And for us, it was a better performance, certainly in possession, than we'd had last week in St. Louis. And so one of the big targets for us tonight was about performance and progressing from where we were. We're not where we want to be at this early stage of the season so we're still trying to become a team, still trying to get better. And I thought tonight was a nice step in the right direction. So I enjoyed the soccer, I enjoyed what Azteca brought and it was a good game."

On finding set-piece success:

"We made big steps forwards in our program last year, it's something that we're really proud of . Of course [Rapids goalkeeping coach Chris] Sharpe and the guys on the first team have created a level of expectation, so we try to meet that expectation. Tonight [Sebastian Anderson's] putting the ball on a platter, first and foremost. And then, again, big men getting the box, doing what they're supposed to do. We understand here the expectations are quite high in that phase of the play. So if you get service and attitude with a bit of technique, you got a good recipe there. And tonight, we're able to show that."

On the importance of playing in Open Cup:

"Super excited that we're the participant on a local level, and not in a selfish way, but just for our group and our players, I think it's an awesome opportunity. When it first came out that MLS wasn't gonna be out in the Open Cup, I was disappointed by that. It's a long-standing event, well-recognized event, and there's Cup competitions all around the world that bring different divisions together. It's already happening in the first round this week, and you don't know what result is gonna go which way, it's an exciting piece, and the best in our country should be represented. So there's a hybrid component now, and the best are represented, and we reap the benefits of this hybrid model, if you will. I think the event is worthy of the best soccer our country has to offer. But I'm super excited for our program that our players get to participate. And it pleases me that we're able to represent the club. So in this event, only, we are the Rapids. And that's something that we take very seriously."

COLORADO RAPIDS 2 DEFENDER JOSHUA BELLUZ

On the match:

"Obviously it's good result, three-nil, clean sheet. I don't think we could have really asked for more. It's obviously good for me to get my pro debut and an unexpected goal. But I thought it was good, I thought it was especially good for the fans to have a local team from Colorado as well represent and show that there's a lot of talent locally. It was a good matchup there. They definitely weren't an easy opponent. They were tough. They've got some really good players that could do some damage and we were aware of that going into it. Good result, happy with it."

On the approach to Open Cup games compared to regular season games:

"I think the best way we can approach it is it's a game. It's just as important as regular season game. The Open Cup games, obviously, are in a different format, but they matter just as much, if not even more, especially for the club. I think that's really the most important thing, representing the Colorado Rapids soccer club."

On preparing for a team without film:

"I think the best way to prepare for it is just to be ready, be ready for anything. We didn't have much on them, but we knew a little bit and we knew what they were capable of some things...that's what makes these matchups so tough compared to regular season games, so you have a bit more film and you can you know a bit of their tendencies, this makes it a bit of a different even in some ways a little bit more of a difficult matchup because you have no idea what you're getting...It makes the game a lot more interesting and a different element of challenge to it. Figuring out on the fly, what's working and what's not throughout the game, it poses a different challenge."


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