In a matchup pitting two of the worst teams in the Western Conference, the Colorado Rapids hosted the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night. After taking an early 1-0 lead on a goal by Tommy Smith, the Rapids conceded a penalty to let the ‘Quakes back in the game. But a stoppage time goal from Bismarck “Nana” Boateng helped Colorado steal the 2-1 win in extra time.
Here are some takeaways from the Rapids’ 2-1 win:
All aboard the “Nana” Boat
When the Rapids picked up Nana Boateng from Manchester City in January 2017, it was a highly-touted signing and one that Colorado fans were excited about. But a back injury early in his Rapids career followed by a mixture of mediocre performance and an inability to find a consistent place in the lineup has made his time in Colorado a difficult one for both the player and fans alike.
Saturday’s goal – Boateng’s first for Colorado and in MLS – marked a high point, however.
“It’s been a very long road for us this season,” the Ghanaian said postgame. “But we came out here every single day and we trained very, very hard. And finally, we are getting the result we need. And I think its great for me and the boys and for the fans.”
Still, at just 24-years-old, Boateng still has plenty of career left ahead of him, and the Rapids brass are optimistic for his development, with GM Padraig Smith pointing out Boateng as one of Colorado’s young promising players in his Q&A with fans on Thursday.
Acosta Benefit Analysis
For all the criticism the Rapids and Smith have taken, the trade of Dominique Badji for Kellyn Acosta may prove to be one of the best – if not the best – moves of the recently closed MLS summer transfer window.
Since acquiring Acosta, Colorado has played some of the best soccer of its 2018 campaign, earning six points in the table in from the three games in which the 23-year-old midfielder has played. If not for a missed penalty and late own-goal against D.C. United, the points total could’ve been seven or nine points.
During the Rapids’ recent stretch of positive results, the team has been better in passing, possession, and chances created and Acosta has been a big part of that, as his distribution diagram shows:
“We’ve been playing better football, our stats are up, our passing stats are like .500 and we’re dominating possession and percentage-wise, that’s helpful, pretty good at home,” Rapids captain and goalkeeper Tim Howard said.
Acosta now has two goals and an assist to his name in three games played for Colorado.
Brightoning up Colorado’s lineup
As a Colorado native and Homegrown player, Rapids fans have been fully behind Dillon Serna. But as Anthony Hudson explained to the media (and subsequently, the fans), he chooses his lineups on performance in both training and games. With strong performance in practice leading up to the match, and also in games, the Brighton, Colo. native is earning his place in Hudson’s lineup and did much to further impress the coach on Saturday, following his first-half replacement of Enzo Martinez.
Less than 10 minutes into his appearance, Serna showed immediate impact with both a defensive stop and a shot that pinged off the crossbar which nearly put the Rapids up 2-0. Like Acosta, Serna is a piece that can help with Colorado’s passing, ball distribution, and the type of attacking football which Padraig Smith defines as “The Rapids Way”.
“I have to mention Dillon (Serna) again because he’s had a tough year,” Hudson said in his post-match presser. “It’s been tough for him, but I’ve loved his reaction, his response.”