The Colorado Rapids sit at fourth in the Western Conference coming off the two-week international break.
They have scored the fourth-most goals in all of MLS and have the third-lowest goals against in the Western Conference. They are right in the heat of things as they enter the second quadrant of the season — and they feel quite good about it.
“The break has been good in many ways,” head coach Robin Fraser said. “But we are obviously chomping at the bit to get back to playing and looking forward to the game.”
On Saturday, the Rapids head to Cincinnati to face last-place FC Cincinnati in brand-new TQL Stadium, which hosted its first home game back in May. But this will be the first time all of the restrictions will be lifted and they are expecting a close to full capacity crowd.
“It’s going to be a difficult game,” Fraser said. “Brand new venue, I’m sure there will be lots of excitement about it. And in spite of Cincinnati’s record so far they have a very good team with lots of really good players.”
MLS calls it the international break, but there wasn’t much of a break happening for the Rapids. The team still trained on its typical schedule during the week and only had a couple of weekends off.
“We had time off but it was not to lose focus on what we’ve done so far this season and want to continue where we left off,” Cole Bassett said. “For us it was about focusing hard for these two weeks and getting the most out of the training we had.”
One of Colorado’s top midfielders spent most of the break with the national team. Kellyn Acosta missed the last game before the break against FC Dallas because he was with the United States Men’s National Team in Switzerland. He then returned with he team to Denver for the Nations League semifinal and final, followed by a subsequent friendly against Costa Rica in Salt Lake City.
He appeared in all four games but it was in the Nations League Final against Mexico where he shined, playing all 120 minutes. He started the game playing central defensive midfield and finished at left back.
Footnotes. Five Rapids players were named to the USMNT preliminary roster for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July: Acosta, Bassett, Sam Vines, Jonathan Lewis and Auston Trusty. It is unlikely all five will be selected for the final roster. … The Rapids announced earlier this week that designated player Younes Namli will be out the next 12-16 weeks after undergoing ankle surgery June 6. “This is an unfortunate setback for Younes, but we are pleased that the procedure has gone so well,” general manager Padraig Smith said in a club statement. “With the break in the schedule, it was the right moment for Younes to have this surgery and fix the ankle issue that has impacted him throughout the beginning of this season. We are optimistic that he will make a full recovery and rejoin the team in time to help push for another playoff berth.”