Colorado Rapids Under-23s will travel to Rio Honda College in Whittier, California on Friday to participate in the Premier Development League’s Western Conference semifinals against Calgary Foothills F.C.
The U23s clinched the PDL Mountain Division title last week to earn direct qualification to the knockout rounds. This is the first season that the Rapids qualified for the PDL postseason since re-joining the league in 2017. The first incarnation of the Rapids U23s folded at the end of the 2008 season following a 3-1 defeat in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
The Rapids’ attack has been the talk of the PDL Western Conference, as the squad topped the region’s goalscoring charts with a total of forty-two goals scored across the season.
Colorado will look to attackers John Haist (Colorado School of Mines), Griffin Dorsey (Indiana University), and Andre Bava Shinyashiki (University of Denver) to add to their tallies on the year – although there are worries Shinyashiki might miss the semifinal due to injury. Together, the trio combined for twenty-six goals and seven assists against Mountain Division opponents.
Only Calgary Foothills F.C. of the PDL’s Northwestern Division – merely two years removed from an incredible run to the PDL Championship in 2016 – stand between Colorado and an appearance in the Western Conference Final. Foothills lost one match during an impressive regular season that featured eleven wins out of fourteen games. The Canadian side is led by attacker Moses Danto, who has scored eleven times out of thirty-three shots on the season.
Colorado – who have conceded the most goals out of all Western Conference playoff teams this season – will have to work to ensure goalkeeper Connor Gavigan (Florida Gulf Coast University) is equipped to handle Calgary’s attack.
Should the Rapids defeat Calgary, they will face the winner of the F.C. Golden State Force/F.C. Tucson match that will begin following the conclusion of the Rapids game.
Image Credit: Total Soccer Project