First-year coach Anthony Hudson says his Colorado Rapids are getting closer to the team he envisioned this preseason, even if the results have been lacking.
The Rapids (2-4-2) will try to turn those results around when they welcome the New York Red Bulls (5-3-0) to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday evening.
Despite losing three in a row, Hudson has been heartened by aspects of Colorado’s performances that haven’t shown up in the box score. That was particularly true last weekend, when the Rapids lost 1-0 to a Sporting Kansas City side that is currently atop the league standings.
“I thought Saturday was a really, really solid performance against a team that has hurt many teams,” Hudson said. “And I think even with the ball at times we played some good football against a team that pressed really well and put us under pressure.”
The Red Bulls are another high-pressing team who has given opponents trouble, including in their 4-0 drubbing of New York City FC in the first New York Derby rivalry match of the season last weekend.
They’ve also looked far more cohesive over the last month after managing the early season challenge of balancing MLS play and a run to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals.
Two-time MLS Golden Boot winner Bradley Wright-Phillips has six goals and four assists through eight games this season, registering at least one goal or assist in each of New York’s last four. And team shots leader Daniel Royer finally got his first goal of the season two games ago in a 3-2 win at the LA Galaxy.
But coach Jesse Marsch understands the danger of playing an opponent in the Rapids that has earned worse results than their play has deserved.
“They compete, there’s no doubt about that,” Marsch said of Colorado. “I’ve watched probably half their games already this year. Last game they went man-to-man and really tried to make it difficult on Kansas City by being hard to break down.
“We’ll be prepared for them to have a couple different approaches.”
— Field Level Media