SAINT PAUL, MN – The 2020 Colorado Rapids season is over. They lost on Sunday to Minnesota United FC in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs. The Loons won the game 3-0, but both teams had quality chances. The result came down to finishing and execution, rooted in experience. Head Coach Robin Fraser and Captain Jack Price spoke to the media postgame. Fraser and Price both expressed frustration in the result as the team did poorly in just a few key moments to result in a lopsided score line.
Colorado Rapids Playoff Elimination: Fraser and Price Lament Poor Execution
“It’s not very often that you lose a game 3-0 and think you should have won,” Fraser said after the match.
That about summed up the game well. Less than five minutes into the game, Jonathan Lewis had a clean shot on goal inside the box but Dayne St. Clair made the save. Minnesota would score in the 22nd minute against the run of play on a defensive breakdown from the Rapids.
“Minnesota have a number of very talented players and that was evident tonight,” said Fraser, adding “you have to execute in the front and be solid through the middle and execute defensively at the back, which we did all of throughout the night but not as consistently as we needed to.”
Dealing With the Press:
Both teams missed golden chances as well. Cole Bassett could have scored inside the opening minutes of the second half. Emanuel Reynoso hit the post on a 3-on-1 attack that started off a pressing sequence. Minnesota pressed at moments during the game. It disrupted Colorado in possession, overran the midfield.
When asked about not dealing with the Loons press well, Jack Price said “be clean on the ball. There were times we turned it over too easily. We knew the pressure was coming. We just had to be better on the ball.”
Robin Lod scored on a great counter attack in the 54th minute. The teams traded chances after that and eventually Kevin Molino scored the third goal.
Small Moments Have Huge Implications:
This game came down to a dozen or so moments. Over 70 minutes or so, the game was very even. One could argue the Rapids were slightly better. Minnesota was better in spirts that added up to at least 15 minutes. Then those dozen or so sequences, totaling a minute or two, Minnesota dominated.
“We’ve just got to learn from this. We had moments today where we should take our chances. It’s a different game if we score first. We have to learn from this. We’re a young group and we’ll come back stronger,” said Price.
Colorado should have scored a goal or two. Minnesota could have had a fourth or a fifth. If the Rapids had showed up like they did in the final three games of the regular season, they could have won this game. In that regard, the team is right to be disappointed and feel the box score was a harsh representation of the match.
That said, when one team shows up massively in those key moments and the other team doesn’t, it’s hard to say definitively you should have won. Minnesota experienced something similar in their playoff loss last year. Now it’s up to Colorado to go through similar growing pains to prevent this next season.