COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Early goals from Andre Akpan and Kamani Hill handed the Colorado Rapids a 2-1 win over English Premier League visitors Swansea City in an international friendly at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Tuesday night.
Sloppy early defense allowed the Rapids to collect their first-ever win over an EPL side. The visiting Swans, who substituted all ten field players for the second half, did not recover from the early blow despite a stunning late equalizer from new loan signing Jonathan de Guzman.
GOAL: Hill tees up from long range
The win comes as a much-needed boost for the Rapids, who collected their first win since June 30 and snapped a five-game losing streak overall.
Swansea, playing their first match under new manager Michael Laudrup, had numerous opportunities to get on the scoreboard, but struggled to finish despite controlling large portions of the match.
It took all of three and a half for the home side to take the early lead on a sweltering night in Commerce City. Scotsman Jamie Smith’s through ball found Luis Zapata streaking forward, and the speedy left back’s curling cross found an unmarked Akpan for the quick opening goal.
Ten minutes later, more poor defending from the Welsh side opened up room for Hill to knock in a long-distance goal. The Bay Area native beat a Swansea defender just outside the penalty box and whipped in a 20-yard blast off the post and in for his fifth goal of the season and a 2-0 Rapids lead in the 14th minute.
Despite new signing de Guzman’s perfect 79th-minute set-piece strike, Swansea – who finished a surprising 11th in their inaugural EPL season a year ago – couldn’t get an equalizer, and subsequently began the Laudrup era on a sour note.
The Rapids resume league action Saturday night when they host the Seattle Sounders, while Swansea continue their 12-day US tour in California, when they visit the Ventura County Fusion on Saturday before a midweek friendly against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.