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United they stood vs. Rapids

Jon Mitchell
Post Independent Sports Editor
Kelley Cox / Post Independent
Staff Photo |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Saturday night’s final score between the Colorado Rapids Women and Colorado Mountain United was 4-0 in favor of the professional women’s soccer team.

The final result at Gates Soccer Park, however, could have been much more lopsided.

“I think we did pretty damn good,” said United goalkeeper Tori Verdieck, who tallied eight of the 17 saves in goal against the Rapids. “We held our own, we didn’t let them push us around, we went to every ball and got a lot of 50-50s, and we didn’t back down even when we were down.”



On the stat sheet, the match was very lopsided in favor of the Rapids of the W-League. They held a 28-1 advantage in shot attempts, took eight corner kicks to United’s two and, off the stat sheet, controlled the midfield and possession of the ball with one- and two-touch passes.

“Absolutely … the crowd was great and the field here is fantastic. So yes. We’d love to come back here.”
Alex Balog
Colorado Rapids Women assistant coach

It wasn’t, however, thanks to United’s Verdieck, a Coal Ridge High graduate who plays goalie for McPherson College in Kansas, and Dani Turley, who graduated from Glenwood Springs High in 2010 and plays goalie for Carroll College in Montana. Turley, playing for close to 35 minutes of the second half, tallied nine saves against the Rapids.



Leading the way for Colorado’s scoring attack was Karisa Price, a forward who plays collegiality at Metro State. She beat Verdieck on a 1-on-1 chance in the 26th minute, then capped the Rapids’ scoring with a goal in the 78th minute off a drop pass from Shino Kunisawa, a midfielder who plays collegiality for Long Island University.

“We were just really good off one- and two-touch passing and moving into space, knowing what we’re going to do with the ball before we got it,” Price said. “We had great communication, too.”

The exhibition match was good in a lot of ways for the Rapids, other than the victory.

It gave some playing time to players who haven’t been regulars this season, and it provided a match during a part of the team’s regular-season schedule which saw an 11-day gap between matches. But United, a team made up of high school and college-level players from the Roaring Fork Valley and surrounding area, wasn’t a proverbial doormat for a team vying for a spot in the postseason.

“Here they are, they get paid for what they do, and here we are just trying to get better at what we do,” said Turley, who played 30 of her 35 second-half minutes with a jammed finger on her right hand. “But we did get better.”

Colorado’s Abby Phillips opened the scoring in the 18th minute, beating a diving Verdieck on a shot from 20 yards out. Price followed with her goal eight minutes later, giving he Rapids a 2-0 halftime cushion.

United appeared to gain some control of the midfield 10 minutes into the second half, as a crossing pass from the right side of the field by Emily Fisher was dropped five yards in front of the goal box. But Rapids goalie Kate Scheele scooped it up right before Kelsey Fauser could reach it, stopping the threat.

Aside from that, Lynsey Atkinson’s 25-yard shot on goal in the first half was the only other chance the Rapids allowed United. Meanwhile, Verdieck and Turley were turning away numerous Rapids shots, with Verdieck turning away the other three 1-on-1 chances the Rapids attained.

Jessica Ayers’ goal in the 56th minute bumped Colorado’s lead to 3-0, essentially putting the match out of reach. The match, however, may have started something that the Denver-based squad is open to doing again.

“Absolutely,” Rapids assistant coach Alex Balog said.

“We’ve already been talking about it. I think if we’re going to do it again next year, we’d like for it to be during preseason in May or something so we can stay four or five days, play this team and maybe play someone else, too. But the crowd was great and field here is fantastic. So yes. We’d love to come back here.”

jmitchell@postindependent.com


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