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Rapids Recap: Burgundy Boys unable to find winner in preseason opener, youngsters look strong

Colorado Rapids 0, Sporting Kansas City 0

Saturday at Kino Sports Complex, Tucson, Ariz.

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On the Pitch: Coach Robin Fraser put out a strong starting 11 to open the preseason, which included the likes of team captain Jack Price, Diego Rubio, Michael Barrios, Lucas Esteves and Clint Irwin. The youngest of the starters was 20-year-old homegrown midfielder Oliver Larraz, who had a solid first half hour of play going against veteran Johnny Russell in a few duals. Frasier eventually made wholesale changes at the hour mark and the second wave looked dangerous. Defensively, the Rapids gave up a few chances to SKC but were sturdy, as Andreu Fontas’ header in the 23rd minute off a free kick bounced just wide, while Esteves was issued a yellow card for starting a shoving match with Russell and was also issued a final warning later in the first half.

In the final third: The Rapids had five strong chances in the game but were unable to finish them off. Rubio had two good chances, as Barrios served in a pair of enticing crosses, but Rubio had one shot he drove just wide to end the first half, and another in the 57th minute that deserved a better first touch but was mishit.

Two other chances worth noting: Draft pick Roberto Molina, who made good contact but his shot fizzled into the side netting in the 76th minute, and Denver native Darren Yapi, who opted to shoot in the 87th minute instead of making an extra pass, but it was saved by SKC substitute goalie John Pulskamp.

Worth Noting: The Rapids’ budding stars looked as good as advertised. Philip Mayaka forced a pair of turnovers that led to chances, first-round draft pick Mohamed Omar showed some spunk and linked the attacking play well, and Yapi, plus Dantouma “Yaya” Toure were constantly in play-making positions despite coming away empty handed.

Up Next: vs. the Seattle Sounders on Tuesday in a closed-door scrimmage.

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Rapids release full preseason roster

The Rapids released their full preseason roster a few hours before kickoff. While the usual suspects from last season were included, there were a total of 36 players who reported to Arizona, 11 of which were new. Making the squad were five Rapids Academy prospects, three new senior team members and the three MLS SuperDraft picks.

The Rapids Academy prospects included: goalkeeper Isaac Nehme, a freshman at the University of Denver from Colorado Springs, defenders Steve Flores and Daniel Garcia, and midfielders Robinson Aguirre and Connor Miller. The three draft picks were Omar, Anthony Markanich and Molina. New senior players were Aboubacar Keita, Max, and Bryan Acosta. Acosta and Max were not in camp as of yet, due to international duty, and scheduling setbacks, per the club.

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