Rapids confident about 2011 jersey sponsor

Club also entertaining idea of friendly against Bundesliga side

Wouldn’t it be nice if the MLS champions run out against the Portland Timbers for the 2011 season opener with a new jersey sponsor?

The Colorado Rapids certainly hope so, and the team is optimistic that they’ll have a company fixed to the front of their kits when the Timbers come calling to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on March 19.

In fact, Rapids managing director Jeff Plush told MLSsoccer.com that he is confident a deal will be struck by then.

“We’ve had a lot of meetings and we are very bullish on where that is going to land,” he said. “There is a lot of confidence we will get closure in the near future.”

MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in his State of the League address in November that he was hopeful a number of clubs would secure jersey sponsorship within the “next 30-45 days.” Plush said nothing would happen in Denver within that timeframe, but that the 2011 season opener was more than a realistic target.

“I think [Garber] knows there is a lot of dialogue with clubs,” he said. “I have every confidence for the season start and there is more than one company having talks with us. There is a tremendous amount of interest now that we have elevated our brand, and it is important for us to strike the right partnership.”

Plush also discussed the idea of the Rapids playing an international friendly, something the team didn’t do in 2010. Partner clubs Arsenal and Pachuca remained possibilities, but a more likely scenario right now looks to be a Bundesliga club.

Plush said he had had discussions with a top-level German club about coming to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park next season.

The Rapids played Mexico’s Club America in July 2009 and lost 2-1 to EPL club Everton the year before.

“There is an appetite for international games,” he said, “but there is a more congested [fixture] list next year, and the most important thing is to be playing in November.”

The Rapids will have a busier season than ever next year, with extra games due to the CONCACAF Champions’ League on top of an already expanded regular MLS season with the arrival of the Timbers and the Vancouver Whitecaps.

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