2017.09.14 Cooke

Fresh off their first road victory of the season, the Colorado Rapids return home on Saturday to face New York City Football Club at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, where kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (MT).


Here are Three Points to consider ahead of Saturday night:
1. Guten tag, Stefan Aigner!

In just 42 minutes of action, newcomer Stefan Aigner has already proven to be just what the doctor ordered for Steve Cooke’s men. After a brief, but threatening debut against LA Galaxy two weeks ago, Aigner put in a tremendous shift in Houston last Saturday night. There he showed the type of first touch and positional awareness that allowed him to make 274 appearances as a professional in Germany – including 25 goals and 25 assists in the Bundesliga.


Aigner’s stoppage-time link-up with Dominique Badji in the 93rd minute was enough to hand the Rapids their first away win of the season, as well as landing the Munich-born winger a spot on the ‘bench‘ on Major League Soccer Team of the Week.


2. Cooke confident ahead of clash

Following his first victory as the Rapids Interim Head Coach, Steve Cooke believes his team will play with confidence as they host NYCFC on Saturday night.


“It’s really important to harness that confidence,” said Cooke in a recent radio interview. “But as I said straight after the game, it’s not really a reason at this point to celebrate too wildly. It’s a time to learn from what happened, move forward and try to continue through the process.”


Cooke, who is taking charge of his sixth match since taking over from Pablo Mastroeni, arrived in Colorado in 2010, following a successful stint as a development academy coach with Sheffield Wednesday F.C. – then of the Premier League. Cooke joined the Rapids Development Academy in 2010. Along with DA responsibilities, he was appointed to Óscar Pareja’s staff in 2012 to work with the first team. In 2014, Cooke was appointed as first team assistant coach to Mastroeni prior to his promotion to Interim Head Coach.


3. Pirlo comes to town

Italian superstar Andrea Pirlo makes his Dick’s Sporting Goods Park debut on Saturday night under the lights in Commerce City. The 2006 World Cup winner joined NYCFC in 2015 following a glittering career in Serie A where he captained Italian giants AC Milan and Juventus F.C. A deep-lying playmaker, Pirlo has a reputation for performing well in the big games and even at 38 years of age, is still considered one of the deadliest set-piece specialists in the game.