Sam Vines is known for his defensive strengths as a left back for the Colorado Rapids, but the Homegrown player turned goalscorer in the club’s 3-1 victory on Saturday night.
Vines scored the opening goal in Colorado’s third-consecutive victory in MLS action, helping set the tone in a busy first half for Robin Fraser’s squad. The left back broke the deadlock in the 29th minute while also helping play a vital role defensively in a confident performance at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
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“I think we came out strong at the beginning,” Vines said post match. “We pinned them back early on… [W]e got a goal in the first half that really opened up the game and then we scored a second one. We let one right in after we scored, didn’t really feel too good, but it was a good response from the guys right after to get another goal and kind of lock down the game.
“We just grinded out the whole rest of the second half and did our thing, didn’t let up any goals, didn’t score any goals, but we just locked down the game. A good 3-1 win from the boys.”
Vines trailed the play in the 29th minute, but looked like a seasoned veteran by roofing a left-footed shot into the top corner. Michael Barrios’ cross fell to the onrushing Vines, who made no mistake by scoring his second career MLS goal.
With the Rapids leading 3-1 at the break, Vines helped shut down the Dynamo from that point on, passing the ball accurately and holding his own defensively. After getting on the scoresheet for the first time in 2021, Vines credited his determination to help the team score goals and his teammates for their movements on the play itself.
“I just want to contribute the best I can,” Vines said. “Obviously, I’m a defender so I have to defend first, but the system that we play now gives me more freedom to go forward and help with the attack, get some more space out wide to get crosses in the box and to get production.”
“Just the distribution and the movement from the guys gives me space to get in behind, so it helps me, all the guys, the movement that we get, the rotations that we get on the left side. Whether it’s Bava [Andre Shinyashiki], whether it’s Kellyn [Acosta], our movement just brings out space for me and gives me opportunities to get in good spots, get good crosses in the box.”
After failing to win either of its their opening two matches, the Rapids have won three in a row and seen five different players get on the scoresheet over that span. Vines and fellow Homegrown teammate Cole Bassett scored on Saturday, continuing their rapid development at the professional level.
Up next for Colorado will be its toughest test of the season so far, a May 22nd road match at LAFC. With 10 points from their opening five matches this new season, the Rapids will be full of confidence to continue their hot run of form, even if its at the home of a Western Conference favorite.
“Houston came in and their game plan was to make it really difficult for us, and playing the back five, they did a good job of taking away a lot of the spaces that we generally want to attack,” Fraser said. “But I thought our team did a really good job of being patient and moving the ball early in the game, and as a result, we were able to create some good chances and obviously score some good goals.”
“I think that, again, we showed really good character in going 0-0 in the second half and winning by two goals at home. Nothing is ever perfect, but we’re certainly gaining confidence from creating some of the chances and goals that we did and then being able to see these games out last week and this week.”