Goalkeeping and defense lead Rapids to another shutout win – The Denver Post

The Colorado Rapids played spoiler to the first-ever full capacity crowd at TQL Stadium on Saturday night, defeating FC Cincinnati 2-0. Cincinnati has now dropped their first four games at the brand new stadium.

And the Rapids won utilizing a formation that hasn’t had much success this season. The first and only time they deployed three center backs to start the game was against Los Angeles FC when they lost 2-1.

“I thought we did a really good job,” head coach Robin Fraser said. “Our understanding was really good considering it’s not something we do all the time. We’ve obviously had some time to work at it.”

Auston Trusty, Lalas Abubakar and Danny Wilson all started at center back with Keegan Rosenberry and Sam Vines starting at their typical fullback positions.

“I felt like the coordination between the three/five was really quite good,” Fraser said. “And that their movement to cover each other was very good and it’s a pretty solid platform from which to play.”

Against LAFC, they tried to deploy the formation after only a week of training and the communication and structure needed refinement. This time, they had two weeks to prepare and the results spoke for themselves.

“We certainly like the flexibility of being able to play in a couple of different shapes depending on what the opponent does and what the conditions are,” Fraser said. “So it’s been a work in progress and the guys have done a really good job of adapting to everything that’s been asked of them, and I thought they looked pretty comfortable for the most part.”

The quintuplet earned the Rapids their fourth clean sheet in eight games and their third on the road this season.

Although the defensively heavy lineup certainly helped limit the space FC Cincinnati had to operate, Cincinnati did not go without their chances. They had 22 total shots in the match and created 13 chances.

“Walking into the tunnel I said to [goalkeeper William Yarbrough], ‘I hate when we have to talk about how good the goalkeeper was because that means we gave up too many opportunities but you were brilliant,’” Fraser said.

Yarbrough finished with seven saves and is now tied for second in MLS with four clean sheets so far this season.

“He was very, very good tonight,” Fraser said. “He’s had a number of good performances for us. Was it his best? Perhaps. But he’s such a good pro and such a good leader.”

The formation also allowed for the forwards to roam more freely and take advantage on the counter-attack which worked to the strengths of many of the forwards including Jonathan Lewis.

“I thought we defended really well,” Lewis said, who scored his first goal of the season to put the Rapids up 2-0. “I think in this new setup that we have we play a lot on the counter and it opens up a lot for the team going forward. The more we use the formation, the better we will get out of it.”

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