It's become the norm in recent years, being on the bench side of Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah and hearing the loud Colorado Rapids supporters across the field. Ask the RSL fans - many spend a good portion of the game looking up at the Rapids fans. Some have even tried to go up to the section before being stopped by security.
Many of these Rapids supporters drove the 8+ hours to Salt Lake City, though I did talk to some that flew, including one Rapids fan that came in from St. Louis. And it wasn't his first time attending a game - he does it often.
A portion start their tailgate north of the stadium hours before kickoff, and wait for the rest of the traveling fans to arrive. Then they march into Rio Tinto Stadium together, holding scarves and flags high up as they chant through the gate. They take their place in the top corner, and immediately make their presence known.
They do think the team played well? When talking to some individually, it didn't sound like many did. But collectively, they only wanted to show their support - which is why they don't stop chanting, banging the drums, waving the flags, and reacting to every play.
Here's a tip of the hat to all those that could make it, and all those that tuned in and otherwise supported the team from afar.
We look forward to seeing many of you here on April 21!
Those of you who have been following the Rapids since the early days will remember the name Ross Paule - the bleached blond Rapids midfielder that played for the club from 1997-2001. It was announced today that Ross will be recognized by his alma mater when he's inducted into the Creighton University Athletic Hall of Fame.
The Rapids selected Paule 11th overall in the 1997 MLS SuperDraft - the first pick the 2nd Round at the time. In just his second season, he was named the team's Most Valuable player after scoring 10 goals (behind Paul Bravo (11) and Wolde Harris (13)), and earned the first of back-to-back MLS All-Star invites.
He was traded to New York in August 2001 for defender Steve Shak and an exchange of draft picks. Although expectations were high for Shak, the previous year's overall top pick, history tells us that the trade did not benefit the Rapids as they'd hoped. Shak played five games for the Rapids that year, and only one in 2002, his last in MLS. Meanwhile, Paule was a regular for NY the next year and finished his career with two solid seasons in Columbus with the Crew before being forced to retire with ongoing concussion symptoms.
In nearly five full seasons, he played 111 regular season games and his 18 career goals still ranks him 10th all-time.
The editor's at Westword have picked midfielder Jeff Larentowicz as 'Best Rapid' in the annual Best of Denver 2012 that came out today. If you've seen it online or picked up a copy, you'll see that the medium selects their 'Best of' in a wide range of categories. You can pick up the free copy of Denver's weekly magazine/newspaper at a variety of corner newsstand throughout the city, as well as see their picks HERE.
2012: Best Rapid: Jeff Larentowicz
(By the way, Conor Casey was the reader's choice for Best Rapid for the third straight year after Pablo Mastroeni had a grip on that honor for the past 6-7 years).
Previous Rapids Westword 'Best of' Editor's Picks:
2010: Best Rapid - Conor Casey
2009: Best Rapid - Conor Casey
2008: Best Rapid - Christian Gomez
2007: Best Rapid: Kyle Beckerman
2006: Best Rapid: Joe Cannon
2005: Best Rapid: Pablo Mastroeni
2004: Best Rapid: Pablo Mastroeni
2003: Best Rapid: Pablo Mastroeni
2002: Best Rapid: John Spencer
2001: Best Rapid: Marcelo Balboa
2000: Best Rapid: Junior Agogo
I stared in disbelief at my TV last night at the end of the USA's 3-3 tie with El Salvador in the CONCACAF U-20 Championships. The Central American's had just eliminated the Americans from the Olympic Qualifying tournament by scoring a goal after four minutes of stoppage time, claiming the tie-breaker and advancing to the semifinals over the hosts.
The disbelief was not so much because El Salvador advanced, after all they created the opportunities and showed to be a good team, or that the U.S. was eliminated, since their problems began when they lost to Canada in the second game. But it was so because it was a reminder of how sports can have two sides: joy for one, and pain for another.
Here's MLSsoccer.com's RECAP
Not sure what to say about this...From RealMadrid.com
TIME has this story: Why Real Madrid Can’t Beat Barca on the Field, But Leads Comfortably in the Market
Jamie Smith is ahead of schedule on his recovery from the torn ACL he suffered last fall. He told me that he's hoping to be cleared to train in 3-4 weeks. While he continues strengthening his leg, he's allowed to work on other stuff, such as free kicks. We caught a few of his attempts on Stew Ceus today on camera...
Most of the guys that played in yesterday's reserve league game had today off, so head coach Oscar Pareja and assistant Wilmer Cabrera became extra players in the first-team training session this morning. We caught this pass from Davy Armstrong to Pareja on camera:
It's the all-important TV numbers...at least one set.
NBC Sports PR today tweeted that Sunday's NBC Sports broadcast of the Rapids 2-1 win at Philadelphia saw 124,000 viewers for the 2.5 hour telecast and 145,000 for the two-hour game coverage. These numbers represent an increased of 82% and 113%, respectively, from Fox Soccer's previous average of 68,000 viewers.
The viewers, which peaked at 211k from 3:30-3:45 MT (isn't that about the time Jaime Castrillon scored?), were also 51% higher than NBC Sports first-ever MLS broadcast last week when the New York Red Bull lost to Dallas 2-1 in Texas.
MLS on NBCSN (Phila vs Col): 124k viewers for 2.5 hour telecast, 145k for 2 hour game coverage, up 82% and 113% resp. from FSC 2010 avg-68k
— NBCSportsPR (@NBCSportsPR) March 20, 2012