Rapids Youngsters Being Counted on Early

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By Brian Jennings

While Colorado is mired in the cellar of the Western Conference, one positive may be that the coaching staff and front office are willing to progress the recent Homegrown signings more quickly than if they were involved in the playoff race early in 2019.  

With Conor Casey taking over the helm, the Rapids continued with the trend of giving young players opportunities against MLS competition to earn their minutes amongst the veterans while not exactly asking them to keep things simple against the Whitecaps last weekend.

Nineteen year-old Sam Vines has become Colorado’s staring left-back, and the youngest Homegrown signing out of the Rapids academy, Sebastian Anderson, saw his first start against Vancouver at just 16 years-old.  Anderson did so well in fact that he earned his first oar presented by C38 as the Man of the Match for his 62 minutes.

Casey told media that Vines and Anderson had a dual role in the Rapids plans against the Whitecaps.  “What we wanted to do was have them higher up the pitch when we were offensive.  That happened at times-we wanted them to be high and get crosses in for Kei (Kamara), so that was the message-I wanted to be on the front foot and try to play in (Vancouver’s) half.”

Casey explained that both Vines and Andersen also needed to take on the defensive responsibility as outside midfielders in a 3-5-2, noting the other major role for both was “obviously, defensively for them to be able to track back in transition and help protect that back three.”  With their pace and abundant energy, both former Academy players will have to be aware of defending their sidelines as opponents will look to counter attack a forward-pressing Colorado.