After losing late lead, Rapids see positives and plenty to work on

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Saturday night started on buoyant note for the Colorado Rapids. By the end of the evening, the mood had shifted entirely, as the Rapids saw their early 2-0 lead evaporate, a collapse marked by a late equalizer in a 2-2 draw vs. Sporting Kansas City.

“To have gone 2-0 up and to concede so late, it’s a similar feeling as [March 10’s 2-1 loss] against New England,” Hudson told reporters postgame. “We come in very disappointed, but as we’ve been saying, this is a process in the sense of so many new players.”

In front of a sellout crowd in their home opener, the Rapids started fast and furious, scoring two goals in the opening 10 minutes with strikes from Dominique Badji and Joe Mason. Mason’s goal marked the first for the MLS debutant, who earned his first start for Colorado after joining the club from Wolverhampton Wanderers of the English Championship in preseason.

“Joe Mason’s first goal is another step in the right direction,” Hudson said. “There’s certainly a lot to build off of tonight.”

Having only joined Colorado in training over the past two weeks, Mason is still adjusting to playing at altitude, but the 26-year-old is eager to get to work with his new club.

“It’s nice as a striker to get on the mark as soon as possible,” said Mason. “I’m still adjusting to the way the manager wants to play and I felt I could have done a few things better tonight. I’m not as fit as I’d like to be at the moment, but I’m getting there.”

But after building the early lead, Colorado began to lose control of the match, as the visitors began to control the lion’s share of shots and possession for the remaining 70 minutes and extra time.

“There’s definitely things we need to work on,” Hudson reflected. “Our striker up front; it’s the first game with the team at altitude. The great start was almost our problem. As soon as we went 2-0 up, we’re inviting pressure on ourselves. It just changed the approach in terms of mentality, but again, there were a lot of positives tonight.”

Mason agreed, saying, “We’re disappointed. Obviously, getting a 2-0 lead into halftime, we’re disappointed. After the first 20 minutes, we sort of dropped off a little bit and didn’t stick to the plan. So we are disappointed we didn’t win the game.”

As Hudson has stressed since preseason, the Rapids remain a work in progress under a new regime with over a dozen new players. Nevertheless, earning the first point of the season is a milestone to build on moving forward.

“If we’d had won this game 2-0, I’d still be saying the same thing,” he said. “The best of this team is going to come in probably four or five games.”