Tag Archives: Jess Houwen

Second time’s the charm for Colorado Rapids

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Saturday, April 14: 2-0 Win

For the second time in 2018, the Colorado Rapids faced the reigning MLS champs, Toronto FC, at home. Toronto did not play with their normal starting lineup as Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, and Sebastian Giovinco were being rested for their first leg in the CONCACAF Champions League final on Tuesday against Chivas.

The first half started off with a bang as Jack Price hit home for the first goal of his MLS career within the first 90 seconds of the game. Kip Colvey passed the ball to the middle and Drew Moor attempted to clear it out of the box. Unfortunately for Moor, his clearance attempt put the ball right on Jack Price’s foot.

After a Toronto throw in, Jordan Hamilton (TOR) saw a chance to tie the game get deflected by the goal post in the sixteenth minute. Coach Anthony Hudson made his first substitution by pulling a poorly performing Kip Colvey and replacing him with an eager to play, Dillon Serna.

The Rapids kept their momentum up during the second half and did not sit back as we have seen them do in past games. After being plagued with injury last season, Shkëlzen Gashi was finally healthy enough to come in during the sixty-eighth minute to replace Jack MacBean.

Minutes after he came in, Toronto gave up a penalty kick when Liam Fraser took down Badji in the box but got more of Badji than the ball. Gashi stepped up for the kick and put it away for the second goal of the game and his first of the 2018 season.

Unsurprisingly, Jack Price picked up his fourth yellow card in five games in the eighty-fifth minute.

In the final minutes of the game, where Colorado has a knack for giving away goals, Tim Howard made an incredible save with his shoulder to maintain the clean sheet. At the final whistle, the Rapids walked away with three points and maintained their undefeated-at-home record for this MLS season.

Now, most of you who follow me on Twitter and read my writing understand that I am neither a Dominique Badji fan nor a Shkëlzen Gashi fan. However, I was thoroughly impressed by how both played on Saturday as they seemed to control the ball better than past games and move it around well. Notably, Gashi used far fewer touches in this game than he did last season. While it was only his first game back, I am hoping that this is an indication of what is to come with him.

It seems that Coach Hudson’s earlier comment about seeing a better team within four or five games has proven itself true. In the interview after the game Saturday, coach Hudson said that “…what we are seeing is a team that is working together,” and that “we’re not a team of individuals and that we have good players that are playing to a certain style and system…[the players] are all stepping up and fulfilling their roles within that system as well.”

The Rapids will face Real Salt Lake on Saturday, April 21 at Rio Tinto Stadium in a game for the Rocky Mountain Cup.

2’ – GOAL: Jack Price (COL) – 1:0 Colorado Rapids

39’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (1/3) – Kip Colvey replaced by Dillon Serna

46’ – SUBSTITUTION: TOR (1/3) – Jason Hernandez replaced by Eriq Zavaleta

57’ – SUBSTITUTION: TOR (2/3) – Ben Spencer replaced by Ashtone Morgan

69’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (2/3) – Jack McBean replaced by Shkëlzen Gashi

75’ – SUBSTITUTION: TOR (3/3) – Drew Moor replaced by Julian Dunn (MLS debut)

78’ – GOAL: Shkëlzen Gashi (COL) – 2:0 Colorado Rapids

79’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (3/3) – Enzo Martinez replaced by Yannick Boli (MLS debut)

83’ – CARD: Dominique Badji (COL) – yellow

86’ – CARD: Jack Price (COL) – yellow

Featured image of Jack Price corner kick courtesy: Jess Houwen

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

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A day of firsts for Rapids organization

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Saturday, March 31: 3-0 Win

The Colorado Rapids second home game of the season was marked with several firsts. It was their first victory of the season, it was the first hat trick ever for Dominique Badji and the first hat trick in seven years for the Rapids organization.

The first half was relatively uneventful, but the Philadelphia Union absolutely dominated the play. There were several missed opportunities for goals on both sides. The first real goal scoring opportunity for the Rapids came in the forty-third minute when Tommy Smith put a diving header square in the middle of the goal, but Philadelphia’s keeper, Andre Blake made the save. The deflection gave the ball to Enzo Martinez who took the shot, but that was saved by Matthew Real, who was making his MLS debut for the Union.

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Goal kick. Image courtesy: Jess Houwen

Something changed during halftime and the Rapids came out far more ready to fight than they had been in the first half. The Rapids made their first substitution by replacing Danny Wilson with Axel Sjöberg as Wilson had twisted his ankle during the first half.

Jack Price picked up the first card of the game at the beginning of the second half for making an unsafe slide tackle on the Union’s David Accam. This was Price’s second yellow card in as many games.

Badji also seemed to come awake during the second half with his first career hat trick.

The first goal came in the fifty-second minute when Smith headed the ball to Badji who then put it in at the back post. The second goal came in the sixtieth minute shortly after Marlon Hairston was stretchered off the field and replaced by Dillon Serna. The third goal happened when Johan Blomberg passed the ball up to Badji from behind the midline.

The game ended with a clean sheet for Tim Howard and three points for the Rapids.

Colorado will face FC Dallas on Saturday, April 7 in Frisco at the Toyota Stadium.

46’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (1/3) – Danny Wilson replaced by Axel Sjӧberg

48’ – CARD: Jack Price (COL) – yellow

53’ – GOAL: Dominique Badji (COL) – 1:0 Colorado Rapids

60’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (2/3) – Marlon Hairston replaced by Dillon Serna

61’ – GOAL: Dominique Badji (COL) – 2:0 Colorado Rapids

63’ – CARD: Johan Blomberg (COL) – yellow

64’ – SUBSTITUTION: PHI (1/3) – Fabian Herbers replaced by Ilsinho

69’ – CARD: Dillon Serna (COL) – yellow

75’ – SUBSTITUTION: PHI (2/3) – Matthew Real replaced by Cory Burke

79’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (3/3) – Bořek Dočkal replaced by Anthony Fontana

87’ – GOAL: Dominique Badji (COL) – 3:0 Colorado Rapids

Featured image courtesy: John A. Babiak  @Photog_John

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

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Episode 4: A New Hope, for Rapids

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Saturday, March 24: 2-2 Draw

The boys are back in town! Last Saturday kicked off the Colorado Rapids season at home and it was electric in the stadium. With all of the changes that happened in the offseason, including those that happened between my last article and this game, there were a lot of excited fans.

The stadium was buzzing. There were new flags hanging in front of the Rapids supporters section, C38, that hadn’t been there last season. As commented on during the offseason, coach Anthony Hudson played the team in a new (to them) 3-5-2 format and saw Joe Mason get his MLS debut.

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Image courtesy: John A. Babiak @Photog_JohnB

The game started well with a goal by Dominique Badji in the first 5 minutes. Marlon Hairston hit a beautiful cross to Edgar Castillo who put the ball directly on Badji’s foot for the goal. Not much later, Tommy Smith hit a pass up to a wide-open Joe Mason who took the ball in for the second goal of the game and the first goal of his MLS career.

Jack Price took the first booking of the night when he slid in late on Sporting KC’s Yohan Croizet and got more man than he got the ball. Enzo Martinez proved himself to be a nuisance for SKC as he was consistently pressuring their players and present whenever they had the ball on his side.

The Rapids failed to take advantage after dual fouls on the Rapids by Felipe Gutierrez and Roger Espinoza. This seemed to be a theme throughout the game – failing to convert opportunities into goals.

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
“Scarves Up” image courtesy: Jess Houwen

When the teams stepped back onto the field for the second half, the players’ energy seemed to have switched sides. The quiet Sporting KC fought with a vengeance and the fighting spirit of the Rapids seemed to have waned. Tim Howard, however, was still on fire. He made amazing save after amazing save and, in my mind, earned a Man of the Match nod. (The honor went to Edgar Castillo, who did have an amazing game.)

Unfortunately, his amazing saves couldn’t keep up with our lack of defense from our central defenders. In the fifty-sixth minute, Sporting KC converted a missed opportunity into a goal when Gutierrez put in a rebound from a header off of the near post by Khiry Shelton. Danny Wilson was just a hair too late to keep the ball from going in.

The referee missed a lot of calls on both sides of the ball that night including a cardable offense when SKC’s Espinoza came in from behind on Martinez and kicked his leg out from under him. The Rapids still looked like they were going to come away with three points until the ninety-first minute when Diego Rubio (who had been subbed on for Johnny Russell) equalized.

It feels really weird to say this since we have yet to see a win in the 2018 season, but the Rapids are playing far better than they did in 2017. It seems that with the new coach and the new players comes a new hope. We will see what the Rapids have for us in their next match against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, March 31.

5’ – GOAL: Dominique Badji (COL) – 1-0 Colorado

8’ – GOAL: Joe Mason (COL) – 2-0 Colorado

15’ – CARD: Jack Price (COL) – yellow

46’ – SUBSTITUTION: SKC (1/3) – Seth Sinovic replaced by Jimmy Medranda

57’ – GOAL: Felipe Gutierrez (SKC) – 2-1 Colorado

58’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (1/3) – Johan Blomberg replaced by Bismark Adjei-Boateng

61’ – SUBSTITUTION: SKC (2/3) – Yohan Croizet replaced by Gerso Fernandes

64’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (2/3) – Joe Mason replaced by Niki Jackson

65’ – CARD: Niki Jackson (COL) – yellow

79’ – CARD: Tim Howard (COL) – yellow

84’ – SUBSTITUTION: COL (3/3) – Dominique Badji replaced by Jack McBean

88’ – SUBSTITUTION: SKC (3/3) – Johnny Russell replaced by Diego Rubio

91’ – GOAL: Diego Rubio (SKC) – 2-2 tie

93’ – CARD: Ilie Sánchez (SKC) – yellow

Featured image courtesy: Jess Houwen

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

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The Colorado Rapids 2017-8 offseason

Jess Houwen - Colorado Rapids/mlsfemale
Official Colorado Rapids Reporter

By Jess Houwen // @jesshuh15

Hello readers. I hope you haven’t missed me too much. It’s been a busy offseason for the Colorado Rapids and I’ve not been able to keep up. (Okay, the first resolution of 2018 is to be better at keeping up with everything during the offseason.)

We’ve kept some players that we should have let go and let go of some that we should have hung on to. Thankfully the new expansion team, Los Angeles FC, overlooked us in the 2018 Expansion Draft. We have a new head coach and a lot of opportunity heading into the 2018 season.

Anyone who knows me (or follows me on Twitter) knows that I am not a fan of Shkëlzen Gashi or Jared Watts. I was definitely not happy to see that these players were put on the Protected List ahead of the 2018 Expansion Draft. Moreso, I was frustrated to see that the people we traded Sam Cronin and Marc Burch for, Mohammad Saied and Joshua Watts, were not protected. (Now, I will say that I do understand that Mo requested to not renew for personal reasons unbeknownst to me.)

To his credit, Gashi does seem to be working especially hard this offseason so maybe my second resolution of 2018 should be to give him half a chance this season. I am thrilled that the likes of Marlon Hairston, Tim Howard, and Stefan Aigner will be returning to the roster for 2018. I am equally excited to see what Johan Blomberg, Kip Colvey, Jack Price, Edgar Castillo, Deklan Wynn, and our new draft picks, Alan Winn and Frantzdy Pierrot, will bring to the field.

We ended 2017 with an interim head coach, Steve Cooke, who has since signed on as head coach and technical director with the Oklahoma City Energy FC and I certainly wish him the best there. With his departure, the Rapids brought in former New Zealand Men’s National team coach, Anthony Hudson, to fill the position.

He has made it clear that he expects to be in the playoffs for the 2018 season, a resolution for the new season that I think we can all agree on. After meeting him at an event introducing Price and Castillo, I am optimistic as to what he has to offer our existing players, to see how he incorporates our incoming players, and to see how he changes our game beyond our formation.

We’ll get an early taste of how these changes will impact the Rapids as we take on Toronto FC in the first leg of our CONCACAF Champions League games this February.

Featured image courtesy: @ColoradoRapids

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @jesshuh15

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