Editorial (March 3, 2019) – The Colorado Rapids got a dramatic 3-3 draw in Snow Clasico 3 last night. After going down a man in the first half, they battled back from two deficits to draw Portland Timbers thanks to a goal from Andre Shinyashiki.
Andre Shinyashiki, New Attackers, Show They Can Score Goals for Colorado Rapids
Last night was all about the new offensive players. All three goals came from Rapids debutantes. Veterans Kei Kamara scored on the end of a great play from Kellyn Acosta. Benny Feilhaber scored just moments into the second half on a great individual run. Nicolas Mezquida was a workhorse in the midfield as a No. 8 all game long. While he didn’t end up on the score sheet, he put in a great first ship in Burgundy and Blue.
“Our fullbacks were getting forward, our two strikers looked dangerous, I thought we played well in the difficult conditions. It’s really not easy to play in the conditions we had tonight. So, I thought the new players did very well, but I think the biggest thing, as a team, was to come back twice. It was massive for this group,” Head Coach Anthony Hudson said after the match.
Lastly, MLS rookie and former DU Pioneer, Andre Shinyashiki made his professional debut in the 77th minute. He scored the game-tying goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time from point-blank range.
“That’s the best thing you can do as a rookie, as a striker, getting your first goal in your first game. And not just a goal, but a goal like that to help us as a team. It’s big,” Kamara said of Shinyashiki. He then laughed and jokingly said “we’ll all give him some stick next week.”
Club officials were very clear at the end of last year that the offense needed to improve. A new striker core was brought it. General Manager Padraig Smith went after players proven in MLS rather than international unknowns.
Kamara did well last night as the No. 9, including as a lone striker after Diego Rubio was subbed off. He provides an aerial threat as good if not better than anything the Rapids had last year.
Feilhaber and Mezquida bring something new and more quality in the midfield. Feihaber and substitute Jack Price acted as holding midfielders in a 4-2-2-1, allowing Acosta and Mezquida to go forward when the opportunity presented itself. The team could defend with nine down a man and easily attack with five.
“I could go through the entire list, but the guys were phenomenal. It was a big time point for us and with how many new guys we have on this team, I think it’s a really big statement from us to come back and get a point,” Feilhaber told Last Word on Soccer after the game.
Last year’s squad would not have been up to the task in the way Feilhaber and Mezquida were. Kamara was as good if not better than Yannick Boli could have hoped for and as Dominique Badji ever was. Those who just watched the highlights will see Shinyashiki as the storybook hero. While he had a fantastic debut, the result was a team effort.