During their first visit to Avaya Stadium of 2018, the Colorado Rapids battled the San Jose Earthquakes to a 0-0 draw, earning a point on the road. The result gave the Quakes points in consecutive matches following last weekend’s 2-0 win at Minnesota United FC. The Rapids will now return home to face FC Dallas in their penultimate game of 2018 and final home match of the season next week.
Here are some takeaways from the Rapids’ 0-0 draw with San Jose:
Rapids head coach Anthony Hudson’s starting lineup once again featured three Homegrown players: midfielders Dillon Serna and Cole Bassett, as well as defender Kortne Ford. In the second half, defender Sam Vines, recently recalled from Charlotte Independence, subbed in for Deklan Wynne.
“It feels amazing,” Vines said. “Getting your MLS debut is always a great thing for young players. For myself, it’s exciting. Homegrown team, Homegrown club — it’s exciting just to get the debut.”
At times, Vines very much looked like a player making his first leap to MLS action. But at the end of the day, Colorado’s defense preserved the clean sheet.
The second half marked the first time in Colorado Rapids history that four homegrowns were on the pitch at the same time.
“The youth is important to us,” said Hudson. “We’ve had young players training with us all season, and we’ve been looking at them and watching them, and making sure that the ones that do the right thing and things we are looking for, we are going to give them chances. That’s important to us and today I think you’ve got to credit those four players because they all did very well, especially the lads that stepped in and made their debuts.”
With both sides long eliminated from playoff contention, the primary story heading into this match was San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski seeking the all-time scoring record in MLS. The man who has torched the Rapids many times before needed just a goal against a Colorado defense which has been suspect all season while playing in front of a home crowd.
But the Rapids had other plans. Hoping to spoil fan appreciation day, they did.
“It’s always motivation when there’s somebody out there like the instance with [Zlatan] Ibra [Ibrahimovic] when we were at L.A.,” said Rapids defender Kortne Ford. “We definitely have more grit because we’re not going to let it happen on our end. But more importantly, we’re going out to every single game with the mentality that we’re not going to let up a goal. So we just approach the game like we always do, to get out there, stay together, stay compact and keep a clean sheet.”
Added Hudson, “I think today turned into a defensive performance. I think just because how the game panned out, and a couple of injuries we’ve had and the changes we’ve had to make, it ended up turning that way. Obviously, they’re hunting the record for [Chris] Wondolowski, and they’re throwing everything at us. We’re finishing the game. Kortne Ford battled through the last 30 minutes because he was struggling [with cramping].”
With a clean sheet Sunday, the Colorado Rapids earned back-to-back clean sheets for the first time under Anthony Hudson. It also marked the first time since the 2016 season the Rapids had earned back-to-back clean sheets and the first time since the start of the 2015 season in which Colorado earned a clean sheet in consecutive road matches.
“It was just grit,” Ford said. “Grit and mentality. You know, we went in that game saying we weren’t going to give up a goal and we’re going to nick one. Unfortunately, we didn’t nick one today, but we fought together, we stuck together, we kept the clean sheet.”
Colorado blocked 10 of San Jose’s 20 shots as the backline was peppered by the ‘Quake’s attack. Aiding the effort was one of the better performances from goalkeeper, captain and designated player Tim Howard. Howard recorded four saves in the match, including a header from point blank range from Anibal Godoy.
It was a solid performance in the wake of several players being suspended, including centerback Tommy Smith, following last weekend’s brawl against Minnesota.
Said Vines, “We just wanted to get a clean sheet and get a win on the road. We got one job done so we can’t wait for next week.”