Is Colorado Rapids homegrown defender Kortne Ford the answer for the injured Axel Sjöberg? The answer’s not so clear after the Rapids’ 3-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City on April 9.
Expectations were high for Ford after he decided of forgo his senior season at the University of Denver. He had talks with the Rapids front office about signing with the club after his sophomore season, but decided to return. He then had a breakout season with five goals from a defending position and was a huge factor in the Pioneers’ run to the College Cup.
Ford saw his first ever professional action in the game against Sporting KC when he started at a center back position alongside Jared Watts. The defensive effort was abysmal as the Rapids allowed the most goals in a game since last season on Sept. 26 when they tied the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-3.
Head coach Pablo Mastroeni saw some positives in Ford’s play.
“I think Kortne did alright, but you are judged on moments and on goals against,” Mastroeni. “But I think his effort and his commitment was very good and it’s a performance to build on.”
For his part, Ford himself wasn’t interested in his individual performance, but in the performance of the team.
“All it comes down to is the result and we didn’t get it,” Ford said. “It’s a great opportunity and I’m glad I got my debut tonight. It’s nice playing in front of some family, but other than that it’s about the result and we didn’t get it tonight.”
Sjöberg is expected to return from his injury in the next two to four weeks, so there are a couple more games in which Mastroeni and the Rapids will have to rely on Ford. The Rapids next game is the first leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup on Saturday at 7 p.m. MT at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.