Dillon Serna Volley Lifts Rapids Again Against Switchbacks

COMMERCE CITY, CO (June 14, 2016) – In a rematch of last year’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match, Colorado Rapids defeated Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 1-0, off a Dillon Serna volley.

Dillon Serna Volley Lifts Rapids Again Against Switchbacks

Both sides came in with makeshift lineups in this match. The Switchbacks had just played a game against LA Galaxy II in California on Saturday. Leading scorer Martin Mayben and leading assist man Mike Seth were both on the bench for the USL side. The defense remained relatively intact with Christian Ibeagha and Jarvis Greer at center backing having starting against Los Dos.

The Rapids had some shuffling due to injuries and international call ups. Dillon Powers and Serna both started in place of Michael Azira and Shkelzen Gashi. Marco Pappa was back in the starting lineup for the first time in two months, in place of Jermaine Jones. The Rapids were without veteran center back, Bobby Burling. Eric Miller took his place.

The MLS side got the match off to a good start, possessing the ball and pushing numbers into the box. The Switchbacks stymied the attack up the middle all night, moving five men to the back line at times, with Rony Argueta and Josh Suggs clogging up the middle.

“If the ball’s not moving fast, ten guys can jog side to side and defend the big space,” said Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni after the game. He added that his side was not sharp in the final third.

The Colorado teams traded chances throughout the half, with the Switchbacks sitting deep and countering. Captain Luke Vercollone had the best chances for the Switchbacks.

Much of the offense for the Rapids moved through Pappa. “When he got on the ball, he did create some plays and some very nice opportunities,” said Mastroeni about Pappa’s return. Serna had several good chances including a shot off the post just two minutes in.

In the second half, the Rapids again came out on the front foot. The started to move the ball to the flanks more often and more quickly. Their youthful speed and inexperience showed as they continued to get the ball in good positions, but could not finish.

The game became more stretched as half went on, both sides searching for the opening goal. “As the game went on, we got tired and they were getting closer to our goal,” said Switchbacks head coach Steve Trittschuh.

Finally, the Rapids got a corner in the 84th minute. Pappa sent in a cross that was headed out. It fell straight to Serna, who volleyed it first time into the back of the net. It’s unclear if the ball took a deflection after bouncing off the pitch on its way to goal.

“They were well organized and tough to break down. We had some really good chances we didn’t put away. We were patient and we finally got one,” said Serna post game.

This is the second time Serna has seen the Rapids through to a 1-0 win in a less than quality 90 minute performance. Serna scored back on May 11th to help the Rapids defeat a ten man Sporting KC side in a lackluster midweek MLS game.

Both goals came off a second chance off a set piece, with Serna shooting just outside the 18-yard box. “The most important thing is that Serna finds ways to score goals. That’s a talent,” said Mastroeni. While Serna may not yet be a regular starter on this team, he’s clearly a finisher. And he can create an individual moment of brilliance out of nothing. As Mastroeni said it, “it’s something he thrives on.”

This quality is extremely invaluable to a team trying to shock MLS and win the Supporter’s Shield.