The Colorado Rapids hosted FC Cincinnati for the first time in MLS play Saturday night. An early Andre Shinyashiki goal gave Colorado a 1-0 lead in the first half. The second half saw three goals between the sides, beginning with Kekuta Manneh’s equalizer in the 72nd minute. But Colorado regained the lead on the ensuing restart with a goal from Nicolas Mezquida and capped the 3-1 win with another late goal from substitute Diego Rubio.
Here are three takeaways from the Rapids’ 3-1 win over FC Cincinnati:
Conor Casey Renaissance Continues
Colorado is now on a four-game unbeaten run with interim head coach Conor Casey in charge and now has a 3-2-1 record under the former Rapids forward.
Colorado has averaged two goals per game under Casey, displaying the type of attacking soccer the club has outlined as “The Rapids Way”
Mindset has been what the Rapids’ interim manager has credited as the reason behind the turnaround.
“Mentality is something I’ll keep talking about and the collectiveness,” he explained. “They’ve been fighting all year, and now that it’s turning, confidence comes into play. This is a great group of guys that has been extremely headstrong throughout this time and now we’re starting to reap some of the rewards they’re putting in.”
Bend But Don’t Break
It’s a common strategy in sport; simply outscore your opponent, regardless of what happens defensively.
The Rapids’ defense continues to be a liability as Colorado has conceded 10 goals in twelve matches under Casey. But the team’s defense hasn’t collapsed results like it had in the beginning of the season, where it had leaked goals at a rate of nearly three per game (2.67).
Additionally, Colorado’s defense has improved under Casey (and aided by the addition of centerback Lalas Abubakar), now conceding just under a goal per game at 0.83 GPG.
“Certainly, they scored, but we got it right back, so a great reaction from us,” Casey said in response to the Rapids’ conceding in the second half against Cincinnati.
In addition to his previous comments on playing an aggressive brand, Casey’s unpanicked response to the Rapids’ defensive performance on Saturday shows that conceding goals aren’t a huge concern, just as long as Colorado is outscoring the opposition.
Colorado lost a key defensive contributor on Saturday as Rapids defender Deklan Wynne left the game in the first half with what appeared to be an ankle injury.
Wynne has oft-been criticized by the fans and media for his mixed-bag performances (and perhaps due his close ties with fired head coach Anthony Hudson, who brought Wynne in largely due to their New Zealand ties), but has shown improvement in his second year in Colorado.
More importantly, Wynne has been a piece providing depth at both the centerback and outside back positions.
Casey was unable to provide an update on the injury.
“Something happened with his foot,” he told reporters postgame. “I don’t know the extent, so I can’t comment on that.”