Colorado Rapids miraculously earn spot in Premier Division semifinals

FRISCO, Texas — The Colorado Rapids collected just one point in their first three games at the 2019 Generation adidas Cup. Heading into the fourth game in the Premier Division, where teams from Group C played teams from Group D, they looked to be playing the role of spoiler in their final two group games. 

The Philadelphia Union were sitting on six points, with Mexican side Toluca and the New England Revolution on three. On Tuesday, the Rapids defeated Monterrey 1-0, helping to ensure an MLS side would advance from a strong Group C that included Columbus Crew SC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. With wins by Toluca and New England, Colorado sat in fourth place in their group on four points as three teams were tied for first with six points.

“The win against Monterrey was big…It was an emotional victory. Less about soccer, probably more about grit,” Rapids head coach Erik Bushey told about the match.

Bushey’s team knew a win could earn them a place in the semifinals, but they would need all three teams above them to not only not win, but to not win a penalty-kick shootout that would ensure two points.

Colorado scored two early goals and added a third later on to beat Icelandic side Fjolnir, 3-1, but had to see how the other three games turned out.

Vancouver jumped on Toluca early, cruising to a 3-0 win. It was much the same with New England, which conceded two first-half goals and were unable to get back into the game on the way to a loss. That left Philadelphia, which played Columbus to a draw through the first 49 minutes of a 50-minute game. Unfortunately for the Union, Tyler Wolff — the son of former MLS player and current US men’s national team assistant coach Josh — struck for two goals in the game’s dying moments to lead Columbus over Philadelphia and into first place in Group C.

All three results meant the Rapids miraculously won the group and clinched a spot in the semifinals. There they will face Club Tijuana, who they beat 3-1 in last year’s GA Cup when the team included current Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett. Xolos came into the semifinals after finishing first in Group A, earning their place after the Chicago Fire failed to secure three points against Ulsan Hyundai on the final day of the group stage.

“It looks like perhaps they have brought in some reinforcements this year, they’ve been doing so well,” said Bushey. “We’re happy to play an international side and we’re happy to play to play a Liga MX side. We know one thing for sure, the game will have passion in it."

One player they will be leaning on in that match is Logan Dorsey, who scored five goals in four GA Cup matches last year. The brother of current Toronto FC winger Griffin, Dorsey entered Wednesday’s match against Fjolnir scoreless n this year’s tournament. But he was able to break out against the Icelandic side, scoring a brace to lead his team to three points.

“[He was] probably more aggressive in the 18 [today] and his selection on the type of finish were the key determinants," Bushey said. "He’s always got the mentality to be a goalscorer but today he made good decisions when given the opportunity.”

The Rapids will face Tijuana at 2 pm ET Thursday, with a spot in the Premier Division final on the line. The match will be streamed on Twitch.