Hairston Shines Again In Rapids Bounce Back Win

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COMMERCE CITY, CO (August 6, 2016)“It was the best week of work we’ve had all year. This result today is a culmination of that.” Head coach Pablo Mastroeni could not have said it better. After a 5-1 beat down last week at New York City, Marlon Hairston led the charge in a Colorado Rapids bounce back win. The club defeated Vancouver Whitecaps 2-0 Saturday night.

Hairston Shines Again In Rapids Bounce Back Win

Mastroeni had to make a few changes from the previous match. Bobby Burling returned to the Starting XI after over a month recovery from knee surgery.

With Michael Azira suspended due to a red card last game, Dillon Powers made his first start of the season at holding midfielder. Shkelzen Gashi made his first start in the No. 10 role in a 4-2-3-1 of the year. Sebastien Le Toux also made his debut off the bench after being traded this week from Philadelphia.

On the other side, Giles Barnes made his Whitecaps debut after being traded from Houston. Head coach Carl Robinson‘s side were road weary after a midweek CONCACAF Champions League match.

The Rapids came out the much more aggressive side. Powers did a good job moving the ball forward quickly and Gashi was excellent in distribution to the other attackers. Hairston and Dominique Badji used their speed to reek havoc on the Caps defense and create chances.

Vancouver appeared to have held on to a scoreless half until the 44th minute. The Rapids played quickly up the field when Hairston sent a through ball to left back Marc Burch. Burch got around a defender and delivered a low cross right in front of goal. Hairston made a run and found the space to tap the ball into the back of the net.

The half ended 1-0.

The Whitecaps came out a bit more offensive in the second half, but their only method for creating chances came through Christian BolaƱos to Barnes. The two teams traded chances until the 60th minute when Hairston set up Badji for a tap in goal. Again the Rapids scored on quick play up the field and a low cross that split the center backs and the goalkeeper David Ousted.

This was a much needed victory for the Rapids after the loss last week. They put together a full 90 minute performance. A comprehensive performance with proactive possession soccer. “The most important part of our game today was possession with a purpose” said Mastroeni after the match.

Hairston shined, using his speed and anticipating the play to set up his goal and his assist. “I think what you’re seeing is a young man growing into his own game. [He’s] an impact player on both sides of the ball,” Mastroeni added.

Powers looked very comfortable in a holding role. Mastroeni praised him after the match: “Powers in that position is very good at finding passes and [being] the catalyst of our movement going forward.” Gashi did everything but score in the game and did well setting up his teammates for scoring chances as well.

Still, Hairston stood out the most. With opposing center backs focused on Kevin Doyle and Gashi, teams leave space for others to get in the attack. With the quick movement of the ball by Powers and the full backs, Badji and Hairston were able to get in space and make things happen.

Much of the Rapids success this year has been about the man left open making it happen. The DPs and the impact players force a stalemate all over the field leaving one advantage to exploit. The past month, that area of capitalization has fallen to Hairston. He has risen to the challenge.

“He’s definitely a player now that opposing coaches are talking about when they talk about the Colorado Rapids.”

Ounce again Mastroeni, couldn’t have said it better myself.