Colorado Rapids

Preview: Rapids visit defending MLS Cup champions on Sunday

The Colorado Rapids (5-6-3, 18 pts) will visit the defending MLS Cup champions, New York City FC (8-3-2, 26 pts), on Sunday, June 19, in the first of two road games for the club in the month of June (3 p.m. MT; Altitude Sports, Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM).

Sunday’s match will be the first time NYCFC and the Rapids cross paths since the two sides met on July 20, 2019, their sixth-ever encounter in MLS (0-3-2). New York City is currently first in the Eastern Conference, boosted by a 6-1-1 record at Yankee Stadium thus far this season. Forward Valentín “Taty” Castellanos leads NYCFC with seven goals in his 2022 account, while midfielder Santiago Rodríguez leads the side with seven assists in 2022. In goal, Sean Johnson has anchored the best defense in MLS with a league-leading eight shutouts.

New York City will enter their first match this season without head coach Ronny Deila after the former Celtic FC boss departed the club on Monday to take over as the manager of Standard Liege in Belgium; NYCFC assistant coach Nick Cushing was named interim head coach following Deila’s departure. Elsewhere on the bench, long-time Rapids fans may recognize two familiar faces in NYCFC’s assistant coach Mehdi Ballouchy and goalkeeper Cody Mizell, both former Rapids players. 

The Rapids’ trip to Yankee Stadium will mark their first competitive game in 23 days following the June international window. Colorado goalkeeper William Yarbrough is currently tied for second-most clean sheets in MLS with six and his 23 career shutouts with the club are one away from surpassing Tim Howard for fourth-most in club history.

On the offensive end, the Rapids will be without their leading goalscorer, forward Diego Rubio, as the Chilean will miss the trip to New York due to yellow card accumulation. Rubio leads Colorado with seven goals in 2022, tying him for fourth-most goals in MLS this season, while leading the league in game-winning goals (3). Rapids forward Jonathan Lewis, who was drafted by NYCFC in 2017 and spent two-and-a-half years with the club, will be facing his former team for the second time in his career. In his first appearance against the New Yorkers, Lewis delivered an assist in the sixth minute of the match that helped Rapids Homegrown Player Sebastian Anderson become the youngest player to score in club history.