The Colorado Rapids began their preseason schedule this past week with a pair of matches against the Ventura County Fusion of the Premier Development League.
The Rapids and Fusion ended the first match in a 1-1 draw. The game didn't hurt for scoring chances, but no goals would be scored until the last 10 minutes. The Fusion found the back of the net first in the 83rd minute with a goal from Diego Castillas. However, it only took three minutes for the Rapids to equalize, as Dominique Badji converted on a lethal cross from Mekeil Williams.
One of the Rapids' major strengths in this first game was the ability to possess the ball for practically the entirety of the game. It's also a good sign that they didn't get disheartened after conceding a late goal, insted fighting back for the equalizer.
When it comes to weaknesses, the only one evident in this game was the inability to finish. Throughout the game, the Rapids created plenty of chances but were unable to find the back of the net.
After a few days off, the Rapids played the Fusion again in a game that looked very different from the previous one. The Rapids got things going in the first ten minutes and rolled from there, finishing the match 6-1.
The first goal belonged to Dominique Badji, who capitalized on a perfectly-timed pass from Kevin Doyle seven minutes into the match.
One of the main players for the Rapids in this dominating victory was Caleb Calvert, who scored two goals and notched one assist. The first of his goals came at the 48 minute mark. He received a pass from Marlon Hairston and easily tucked it into the net. The two combined for another goal at the 60th minute to put the Rapids up 3-0.
Shortly after, Hairston got a goal of his own. He outmuscled a Fusion defender, and sent a blistering low shot past the Fusion goalie.
Calvert would not be finished for the night, as he found himself one-on-one with the Fusion goalkeeper and unselfishly passed the ball to a wide-open Liam Callahan for an easy goal.
Jaime Siaj finished things off for the Rapids on a penalty kick after Eric Miller was taken down from behind inside the box. The Rapids shutout would be denied, however.
Obviously, the Rapids' hot start is an encouraging sign. In the past, we have seen them start games with excellent pace, but then fall flat in the second half and allow the opponent back into the game.
Once again, time of possession was key to the Rapids dominance. They were able to manipulate the pace and play the way they enjoy playing.
Up next, the Rapids will travel to Tucson, Arizona for the 2017 Desert Diamond Cup, where they will first take on Sporting Kansas City on February 15 at 1:00 p.m. EST. Sporting Kansas City has not participated in a preseason match yet, so this one will be the first for them.