First Time for Everything
Wednesday’s midweek match will be the Rapids’ first-ever visit to GEODIS Park and just the second-ever encounter between Colorado and Nashville. The Rapids are currently on a two-game winning streak in their first match at a new stadium, following wins at Q2 stadium against Austin FC and at TQL stadium against FC Cincinnati last year.
"I love big crowds, it motivates me. I hope it motivates the whole team," said striker Diego Rubio ahead of the meeting.
"I mean, imagine winning in front of 25,000, 30,000 fans, so I hope we can do our best, we can enjoy playing in this new stadium and of course you know respect the rival and that they're very good team but we need to play our game."
Nashville SC’s roster and technical staff will feature several familiar faces to long-time Rapids fans, including:
- Eric Miller, Nashville SC defender – Made 56 appearances, 53 as starts, and recorded one assist across 4,734 minutes with the Rapids from 2016-18.
- Gary Smith, Nashville SC head coach – Served as Rapids interim head coach (2008; 4-4-2), head coach (2009-11; 34-27-33). In 2010, Smith led the club to the MLS Eastern Conference Championship en route to the Rapids’ first MLS Cup.
- Steve Guppy, Nashville SC assistant coach – Served as Rapids assistant coach under Gary Smith from 2009-12.
- Kosuke Kimura, Nashville SC assistant coach – Became the first Japanese-born player in the history of MLS when he was drafted by the Rapids in the 2007 MLS Supplemental Draft. Kimura scored the game-winning goal against San Jose that sent the Colorado Rapids to the 2010 MLS Cup. He logged 9,644 minutes, four goals, and eight assists across 117 appearances (109 starts) with the Rapids from 2007-12.
- Matt Pickens, Nashville SC goalkeeper coach – Logged 10,336 minutes across 116 appearances (all starts) with the Rapids from 2009-14. Pickens helped the club win the 2010 MLS Eastern Conference Championship and 2010 MLS Cup and is the Rapids’ all-time leader in clean sheets (29).
In a similar vein, Rapids head of performance Ahron Thode and Nashville SC Designated Player Hany Mukhtar spent four seasons together at Denmark’s Brøndby IF (2016-2020).
"Looking at this as a big in-conference game, the points are extremely important," said head coach Robin Fraser. "Both teams need them, we probably need him more than Nashville does. But certainly they are going to be fighting for them as well. So we we do feel good that we're able to rest a few guys, they also did the same. And I would think it will be a really hotly-contested affair on Wednesday night."
Battle of the Gloves
Wednesday’s clash will feature two of the top goalkeepers from last season facing off against each other. Both William Yarbrough and Nashville’s Joe Willis finished atop the league tied for most clean sheets recorded in 2021, along with New York Red Bulls’ Carlos Coronel. A former Denver University Pioneer, Willis has recorded seven clean sheets this season, mirroring Yarbrough’s count. Yarbrough is on the hunt for his 25th regular-season clean sheet, which would tie him with Joe Cannon for third-most in Rapids history.