The Colorado Rapids kicked off a two-game home stand and played their first home match of the Robin Fraser era Saturday night, hosting the Seattle Sounders. Andre Shinyashiki stole the show for Seattle, opening the scoring with his goal in the 41st minute to give Colorado a 1-0 lead. The onslaught continued for Colorado’s offense into the second half, culminating with a second Shinyashiki goal in the 70th minute. Seattle only generated five shots total in the loss, falling in the 2-0 defeat.
Here are three takeaways from Colorado’s 2-0 win over Seattle:
Finger Lickin’ Good
Andre Shinyashiki was tabbed as a Rookie of the Year candidate early in the season, and has continued to strengthen his case.
In addition to the brace, Shinyashiki had five total shots in the match and was praised for his pressing and holdup play by the new Rapids head coach.
“My reaction was — as I was replaying it very quickly in my head — it was like ‘that was brilliant,’” Fraser said of the first goal. “Jack [Price] played it across the field. We got Sam [Nicholson] in a one-v-one, he played it across the field and then with a good action at the other side of it, Andre and Jon [Lewis] show up. My first thought was, ‘How the hell did he get that in?’ It was really a great moment because they worked really hard for it. They put Seattle under pressure and hadn’t really got that reward yet. To get it late in the half, and the way they did it, through a lot of things that we talked about and worked on — several of them showed up in that moment. It was great, I was extremely excited.”
As for the bleached blonde look Shinyashiki debuted for the game? Most of his teammates weren’t fans.
“I wore it better,” Kellyn Acosta said postgame.
“No chance I’ll wear that hairdo,” added Nicolas Mezquida.
As is common with coaching changes, some players are gaining new life from change. One example is Mezquida, who earned his first start and full run of 90 minutes since June.
Working in tandem with Shinyashiki, Mezquida was also active and dangerous in the attacking third, with six shots and two on-target efforts. The Uruguayan could’ve scored if not for a save by Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei that Seattle coach Brain Schmetzer called a “save of the year” candidate.
“I was happy to start. I like it because I like to press,” Mezquida said of Fraser’s system. “There’s more options. I like to play with the ball at my feet, so that helps me a lot. I feel happy about it.”
Fraser called Mezquida “forward thinking” and said that’s a good thing for the team.
“He’s an aggressive, attack-minded player. Put that together with him being in a pretty aggressive, defensive stance, it turns out to be a very good performance,” Fraser said.
So fresh and so clean
Again filling in for an injured Tim Howard, Clint Irwin put in a good shift in relief, this time earning his first clean sheet of the season and his first clean sheet since re-joining Colorado
“It’s great,” said Irwin. “We really focus on being difficult to beat, and I thought we did a good job of defending high up the field. It made my job easy.”
During the win, Irwin faced only five shots but made two saves, including a key save late in the match to preserve the clean sheet.
“The struggles were from our side — I don’t think we played up to our potential,” Schmetzer said postgame.
The result marked the second 2-0 win under Fraser, so the Rapids have yet to concede under the new hire.