Colorado Rapids Preseason 3-2 Loss to Houston: Five Thoughts

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TUSCON – The Colorado Rapids played their second and final game of the Desert Showcase on Saturday afternoon. It was a 3-2 win for Houston Dynamo. Diego Rubio opened the scoring before Sebastian Ferreira equalized in the first half. Let’s react to this Colorado Rapids preseason game.

Colorado Rapids Preseason 3-2 Loss to Houston: Five Thoughts

Starting XI: William Yarbrough, Auston Trusty, Danny Wilson, Lalas Abubakar, Keegan Rosenberry, Collen Warner, Price, Esteves, Lewis, Rubio, Barrios

Abubakar was subbed off for Mike Edwards after an injury in the 48th minute. Clint Irwin subbed in goal shortly after that. With a half hour left, Yapi, Toure, Anderson, Markanich, Larraz, Mayaka, Beitahsour, and Keita made a line change.

Noteworthy absences and injuries?

Braian Galvan has yet to play in any preseason matches or scrimmages. Neither has Andre Shinyashiki. Both are expected to be regulars in the 18 this year. Max, the Brazilian has also yet to play but he still could be getting adjusted to his new environment. Colorado lacked bite in the final third in the second half, something these players could have helped with.

Lalas Abubakar knocked knees while defending in the second half. He was subbed off for Mike Edwards. This was probably precautionary. Still, it’s a valid question whether Robin Fraser’s preferred lineup from last year will be healthy for the first game in Concacaf Champions League on February 17.

Building fitness, overcoming rust:

The first half was decent. The second half, against Houston’s reserves with fresh legs, was not. This isn’t too surprising nor alarming. But it is something the coaches and players need to work on in the 12 days between now and their Round of 16 CCL game on Guatemala.

The passing wasn’t good enough for long stretches. Neither was the organization when Houston got a turnover at midfield and went in transition. They had a few good stretches of pressure that Colorado survived until the second goal. We’ve seen this be a weakness of the team under Fraser in year’s past.

When the kids subbed in, they helped fix that. While they ultimately gave up the winner at the death, the play was balanced through the final 25 minutes. Yaya Toure had a great moment in scoring the goal to make it 2-2.

Esteves and Rubio combining well:

For the second time this preseason, Esteves and Rubio combined for a goal. Esteves dropped a dime to his striker to open the scoring. Rubio worked hard off the ball on the goal and throughout the first half. Fans have their complaints about the club not signing a striker yet this winter, but Rubio still has his uses. Esteves continues to improve and has been a good pickup since the departure of Sam Vines.

Last Word: The more things change . . .

. . . the more they stay the same. When the Rapids were good on the ball and dictating the play, they were good. When they weren’t at their best and reactionary, Houston was better. Quality and intensity determined this game. This is the seesaw upon which the success of the Burgundy Boys under Fraser has and will continue to be decided.

Photo Credit: John A. Babiak @Photog_JohnB