Conor Casey loses first match, but Kei Kamara says players should be blamed

A tumultuous week in Colorado ended on Friday, as the Rapids lost 3-2 at home to Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The match came on the heels of head coach Anthony Hudson being relieved of his duties and Conor Casey being installed as the club's interim coach.

Hudson was relieved after the club went winless in their first nine matches and with Friday's result, that streak has now been pushed to 10. The Rapids' two points are five less than any other club in MLS.

“It’s been a long week for the guys,” Casey said. “For them to come out and put in a performance for each other was the biggest takeaway for me.

“Although they were two PK goals, we scored two goals again this evening so we continue to be able to score which is a good thing in different fashions,” Casey later said in his postgame comments to media. “That’s my biggest takeaway. The other takeaway is the fight in the team. I think you saw the fight in the team tonight. You saw they haven’t given up on each other and that’s the most important thing. I’ve been in losing situations as a player and it’s terrible. But they’re a strong group of people and they’ll continue to come to work, and fight and try to win games.”

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One bright spot for the Rapids has been veteran striker Kei Kamara. Kamara has continued his progression up the all-time MLS goalscoring chart as he has seven goals this season, two coming on Friday from the penalty spot. After the match, Kamara was quick to point the finger not at the coaching, but at the players inside the locker room.

“[Casey] has been part of this since the beginning of the season,” Kamara said about Casey. “He knows the group. He knew what to say to us and us players are the ones to be blamed now. It’s not the staff. It’s us players. They put the best 11, 13, 14 [players] out there all the time and we come up short every time.

“Everybody’s head is down,” Kamara said. “But we have another game we can look forward to.”

That game comes next Saturday, with Real Salt Lake visiting Dick's Sporting Goods Park. RSL have dominated the series since its inception in 2005, with the Claret and Cobalt leading the all-time series 10-4. The Rapids have won the cup just twice since 2006.

A long-time MLS veteran, Kamara is looking forward to his first taste of this rivalry after participating in many others throughout his career.

“I think everybody should be excited to play in a rivalry game,” Kamara said. “So no matter how the season has gone, if there’s a little bit of boost that anyone needs, it’s a rivalry game. And I’ve played against RSL. The Rocky Mountain — I’ve played on the outside of it. I’ve watched it and I’ve talked to a couple of the boys. If that’s going to be the motivation for us training for the week coming up, then that’s what we have to motivate each other with.”

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