Mar 10, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Revolution forward Cristian Penilla (70) and Colorado Rapids midfielder Marlon Hairston (94) battle for the ball during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
The Colorado Rapids lost their season opener on the road, falling 2-1 in extra time as Chris Tierney’s late goal lifted the New England Revolution to their first win of 2018.
Here are three takeaways from the Rapids’ season opening loss.
Rookie coaches came through with subs
With both Colorado and New England looking for turnarounds following disappointing 2017 campaigns, the spotlight will be on rookie MLS head coaches Anthony Hudson and Brad Friedel throughout the season.
Both coaches came through with the correct substitutions in this game, however, showing signs of promise.
Hudson opted to pull off Jack McBeam in favor of rookie Niki Jackson in the 65th minute, a move which paid off a minute later with an equalizer and Jackson’s first goal in his MLS debut.
But Friedel’s injury replacement of Gabriel Somi for Chris Tierney proved to be the most important substitution of the game as Tierney came up with the game winner in extra time.
The Price is wrong, Bob.
Jack Price’s penalty miss in the 54th minute highlighted the fact that the Rapids still are in search for “the guy” when it comes to penalties.
It’s a new season with new players, but Price’s miss in the season opener provided an ironic bookend to Dominque Badji’s miss to close out last season on the road in Seattle.
The move was a bit of a head scratcher considering Price has tallied zero penalty kick goals in his senior-level career.
With Kevin Doyle retired and Shkëlzen Gashi still out of the lineup due to injury, Anthony Hudson will be looking for the next player to step up at the spot in high pressure situations.
Rapids are still a work in progress
This one is probably the most obvious one considering it’s early in the season and Colorado underwent an extensive roster overhaul, but there’s still a lot of work ahead for Anthony Hudson’s version of the Colorado Rapids, on both ends of the pitch.
Despite long strings of possession, the Rapids only came up with a couple shots on goal in the first half, their most threatening effort coming from centerback Tommy Smith’s header in the 27th minute.
Overall, Colorado’s starting forwards were disappointing. Newcomer Jack McBean contributed zero shots in over an hour of action – his lone contribution was winning Colorado’s penalty opportunity in the second half. Striking partner Dominique Badji was equally disappointing, contributing only three shots (one on-target) in a full game’s action.
Defensively, the Rapids back line looked out of sync at times, particularly during the game’s opening goal, when Revs’ playmaker Diego Fagundez was left wide open in space.
Lack of communication appeared to rear its head again on the game winner, as Tim Howard was shown berating his defensive wall for their effort and positioning.
Yet despite the early issues for the team, there are still positives to build off of; the most notable being 2018 fourth round draft pick Niki Jackson scoring in his MLS debut off the bench.