Rapids reserves giving reason for hope after tough start

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The Colorado Rapids reserve team will not be in a position to win any honors this year in the MLS Reserve League. But after outscoring their last three opponents by a combined score of 10-1, it’s hard to be upset.

Their most recent performance – a 5-1 rout of FC Dallas on Sunday – comes hot on the first team’s 1-0 over FCD, as well as a shock 3-1 defeat of El Salvador’s Isidro Metapan in the CONCACAF Champions League last Wednesday. The Rapids fielded a team comprised largely of reserves for that match.

“The midweek win was instrumental to not only [to the first team's win on Saturday] night but today as well and I think the depth of the group is starting to come to fruition,” Rapids’ reserve coach Brett Jacobs told MLSsoccer.com. ”I think most of the first team guys feel that energy and the positive momentum.”

Just a few weeks ago, the reserve team hadn’t won a game in the league, picking up just one point in six matches. Their last three games have all been wins with the Rapids outscoring their opponents in those games 10-1. Quincy Amarikwa scored a hat trick against Dallas during a seven-minute stretch in the first half.

Jacobs took over reserve team coaching duties this season. Despite the tough string of results in those opening six games, it was always about the bigger picture.

“From day one, it’s been made very clear to me that, between the reserves and the first team, there’s a fine line of separation,” he said. “The reserve group is about player development and supporting that first team group. We were always competitive. I’m not disappointed with those [opening] results. It’s always nice to win but the most important thing is player development.”

Ross LaBaeux scored the first goal against FCD’s reserves. The midfielder has featured in 11 games for the Rapids first team this season, starting four, as well as starting seven games for the reserves.

“There’s an improvement on the [reserve] team and I’m happy that everyone from one to 30 is doing well,” the LaBauex told MLSsoccer.com. “I think today everyone helped each other out which made the game so much more easy. We worked for each other, we passed the ball, we weren’t selfish, our decision-making was good. And the result was five goals.”

The five goals for the reserve team, the win over Metapan and Dallas, as well as a good second half performance against the San Jose Earthquakes on September 24 all give reason for hope. But those performances are in the past now. Now, according to LaBauex, the key is to build on them.

“For us to go down [to El Salvador] and give [the first team] a little break and a little boost was great,” he said. “Everyone was very supportive. The group’s tight. There’s no bitterness towards the first team guys, we are a very tight group. Hopefully, we can keep this going and give the first team a spark and make a good push for the playoffs.”

The Rapids will now enjoy a two week break before their October 14 Rocky Mountain Cup clash against Real Salt Lake at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Colorado then travel to Santos Laguna for a CCL tilt on October 19 before wrapping up the regular season away to Vancouver October 22. The reserve team has one more game at home to Real Salt Lake on October 15.