COMMERCE CITY, Colo. ― The largest public fireworks show in Colorado returns to DICK’S Sporting Goods Park on Sunday, July 4, when the Colorado Rapids (5-3-1, 16 points) host first-place Seattle Sounders FC (7-0-4, 25 points). Kickoff is set for 7 PM, with pregame coverage beginning on Altitude Sports and Altitude Sports Radio at 6:30 PM.
“It should certainly be an exciting game. Full house for the first time in a long time and against the best team in the league,” Rapids head coach Robin Fraser said. “We haven’t played in front of a full crowd here in a long time so that’ll be exciting for the team. Again, we’re playing the best team in the league. You either rise to those challenges or you don’t, so this is a big one for us.”
Colorado will look to win its fourth straight match at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids erased a two-goal, second-half deficit to defeat Minnesota, 3-2, before cruising to victories of 3-1 and 3-0 over Houston and Dallas, respectively. Colorado has scored in 28 consecutive MLS matches at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park since Oct. 28, 2018, the longest active home scoring streak in MLS, and have scored the most goals per home game (2.5) this season. The Rapids are 13-6-4 (W-L-D) all-time on Independence Day.
The Rapids enter the match having picked up three points from a two-game road swing. Diego Rubio and Jonathan Lewis scored to lead the Rapids over FC Cincinnati on June 19 at TQL Stadium. On June 23 at Sporting KC, Keegan Rosenberry scored Colorado’s only goal in a 3-1 loss.
Rubio’s goal at Cincinnati was his team-leading third of the season and was assisted by Michael Barrios, who has two goals and three assists in his last five games. Goalkeeper William Yarbrough made a season-high seven saves at Cincinnati to earn his fourth clean sheet of the season, which is tied for the league lead.
The Rapids won their last two meetings with Sounders FC, both at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park. On Nov. 1, 2020, Rosenberry, Andre Shinyashiki and Cole Bassett scored to give Colorado a 3-1 win and begin a three-game winning streak to end the regular season and clinch a playoff berth. In September 2019, Shinyashiki recorded a brace to lead the Rapids to a 2-0 win in Fraser’s second game at the helm.
Seattle visits Colorado undefeated in 11 matches so far this season and leading the Supporters’ Shield standings. On June 26 in Seattle, Vancouver took a 2-1 lead before Fredy Montero found Jimmy Medranda for the equalizer in the 71st minute. Sounders FC has allowed just seven goals this season, with four coming in the last three games.
Peruvian star Raul Ruidíaz leads Seattle and is second in MLS with nine goals this season, while João Paulo’s five assists are tied for second in the league. Fellow Designated Player Nicolás Lodeiro has been limited to just 24 minutes this season, while goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland has filled in for usual starter Stefan Frei the last six games.
The match begins a stretch of four in a row for Colorado at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park. Three days after hosting Seattle, the Rapids host Minnesota United FC on July 7 before visits from San Jose and Dallas on July 17 and 21, respectively. The Rapids and Sounders will meet twice more this year, first on Oct. 3 in Seattle and then on Oct. 20 in Colorado.
After the match, the Rapids will retire the No. 25 of club legend Pablo Mastroeni, who led Colorado to its first MLS Cup championship in 2010 as captain and to its best regular-season record ever in 2016 as head coach.
“Very excited. The boys are excited,” Rosenberry said. “First time we’ve had full capacity in I-don’t-know-how-long, but it’s felt like forever. Hopefully the fans are excited to see a good performance.”
News & Notes
- Kellyn Acosta, F Jonathan Lewis and D Sam Vines were named to the 23-player U.S. Men’s National Team roster for the upcoming Concacaf Gold Cup. Colorado is tied with Atlanta for the most players on the USMNT Gold Cup roster.
- The Colorado Rapids have won both of their last two meetings with Sounders FC. Colorado is one of just three teams (MTL, SKC) to win both its most recent matchups against Seattle and the only one of those teams to defeat Sounders FC in 2020.
- The Rapids scored their fifth set-piece goal of the season at Sporting KC on June 23. Colorado has scored 33 set-piece goals since the beginning of 2019, by far the most in MLS; D.C. trails with 24 goals from set pieces since then.
- Diego Rubio has eight goals off set pieces since joining the Rapids in 2019, which are the most in MLS since then. Rubio’s next start will be the 70th of his MLS career. The 28-year-old Chilean has 32 goals and 18 assists in 102 appearances, including 17 goals and 10 assists in three seasons with Colorado.
- The Rapids are the only team in MLS not to allow a goal in the final 15 minutes of matches this season.
- Andre Shinyashiki has three goals in just 178 minutes across three career appearances against Sounders FC. He scored a brace in September 2019, rifling the game-winner over Sounders GK Stefan Frei from close range after F Jonathan Lewis cut it back from the byline. Shinyashiki’s three goals are tied for the most by any Rapids player against Seattle (F Deshorn Brown, D Drew Moor).
- Keegan Rosenberry has one goal and one assist in three career meetings against Seattle. Rosenberry scored the game-winning goal in Colorado’s 3-1 win at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park in November 2020 – a wicked volley from distance that was named MLS Goal of the Week. Rosenberry’s next start will be his 60th in MLS with Colorado. The 27-year-old has four goals and six assists since joining the Rapids ahead of 2019, including two goals and one assist this season.
- Cole Bassett’s next appearance will be the 50th of his MLS career. The 19-year-old from Littleton, Colo., can become the fourth Rapids Academy product to reach 50 MLS appearances with Colorado (D Shane O’Neill, M/D Dillon Serna, Sam Vines). Bassett’s 10 goals and eight assists are the most ever by a Rapids Academy product in MLS.
- Jeremy Kelly is available for selection to make his 2021 MLS debut after being recalled from his loan to Phoenix Rising FC in the USL Championship. The 23-year-old earned one assist in two starts among eight appearances for Colorado in 2020.
- Lalas Abubakar’s next start will be the 70th of his MLS career. The 26-year-old Ghanaian has three goals in 73 career matches.