Paul Bravo and Carlos Valderrama celebrate John Spencer's July 4 hattrick_DL

1996-2002: Colorado Rapids 4th of July Capsules

The Rapids are 11-3-3 all-time on the 4th of July - all at home - and eight times the winning goal has been scored after the 69th minute. However since moving over to Dick's Sporting Goods Park in 2007, the team has only won one of six matches (1-2-3) on Independence Day (though, in 2011, the game was played on July 3 instead of the 4th. Ahead of Thursday's Independence Day match against the New York Red Bulls (TICKETS)- which was the last Rapids 4th victims - let's take a quick look back at the club's July 4th matches:

PART II: 2003-2012 JULY 4th RECAPS

July 4, 1996: The MetroStars visited Mile High Stadium in the inaugural Independence Day match and took the lead in the 58th minute on a goal from Tab Ramos. However MetroStars defender Nicola Caricola put one in his own net for an own goal just 10 minutes later to tie the game. Colorado defender and team captain Steve Trittschuh then got on the end of a Shaun Barlett pass in the 83rd minute to give the Rapids the 2-1 victory.

Rapids lineup: Chris Wood, Ian Butterworth, Denis Hamlett, Matt Kmosko, Steve Trittschuh, Dominic Kinnear, Chris Henderson (Scott Cannon 82'), Scott Benedetti, Shaun Bartlett, Jean Harbor (Felipe Rodriguez 88'), Roy Wegerle.

July 4, 1997: San Jose came into Mile High Stadium and jump on the hosts by taking a 1-0 lead after only five minutes when Ronald Cerritos got on the end of an Eddie Lewis cross. This time the Rapids didn't wait till the final 10 minutes, as goals from Peter Vermes (19') and two from Paul Bravo (58' and 68') allowed the team to coast to the 3-1 win in front of 36,252 fans.

Rapids lineup: Marcus Hahnemann, Matt Kmosko, Steve Trittschuh, Peter Vermes, Marcelo Balboa, Sean Henderson, Chris Henderson, Adrian Paz (Wolde Harris 46'), Ross Paule (Tote Castaneda 61'), David Patino (Steve Rammell 82'), Paul Bravo.

July 4, 1998: The MetroStars were once again the visitors, and once again went home without points. Colorado's Marquiz White, who had just replaced Wolde Harris in the 70th minute, took advantage of a MetroStars miscue to put the Rapids up 1-0 just three minutes after coming on. MetroStars defender Alexi Lalas, who along with teammate Tab Ramos and Rapids defender Marcelo Balboa had just returned to their teams following the U.S.'s elimination from the World Cup in France, tried to chest trap a ball in his own six yard box, but the ball bounced slightly away and White was there to knock it in. The Rapids held on for the 1-0 win in front 46,722, highest-ever attendance for a soccer match in Colorado.

Rapids lineup: Marcus Hahnemann, Sean Henderson, Peter Vermes, Steve Trittschuh, Chris Martinez, Tahj Jakins (Marcelo Balboa 55'), Adrian Paz, Ross Paule (Joey DiGiamarino 80'), Wolde Harris (Marquiz White 70'), Paul Bravo

July 4, 1999: The Columbus Crew became the first team to defeat the Rapids on Independence Day when they came into Mile High Stadium and left with a 3-0 victory in front of a new record-crowd of 51,025. With Rapids goalkeeper Ian Feuer making his first start of the season following Hahnemann's transfer to England's Fulham, Mike Lapper scored after eight minutes and Stern John put the game away with one-v-one goals in the 66th and 80th minutes.  It was the Rapids first home loss of the season and ended a six game home winning streak.

Rapids lineup: Ian Feuer, Jason Bent, Marcelo Balboa, David Vaudreuil (Joey DiGiamarino 74'), Peter Vermes, Matt McKeon, Ander Limpar (Darren Sawatski 82'), Ross Paule, Paul Bravo, Jorge Dely Valdez, Wolde Harris (Marquiz White 79').

July 4, 2000: In the most dramatic ending to a 4th of July match to this point, the Rapids came from behind with two late goals to defeat the Chicago Fire 2-1 in overtime in front another record crowd, this time 53,126. Chicago's Andre Lewis put the visitors ahead right before the half, which set the stage for the comeback. With one minute left in the game, Matt Okoh and Junior Agogo combined quick passes to set up Anders Limpar who ripped a shot from 15 yards off the right post to tie the match. At the time, two 5-minute overtime periods were played. Three minutes in the second extra time period, Limpar crosses to Marcelo Balboa, who chest trap bounced off of Okoh and falls right back to Balboa, who fires into the back of the net for the win.

Rapids lineup: David Kramer, Marcelo Balboa, Chris Martinez, Lance Key, David Vaudreuil (Matt Okoh 73'), Jason Bent, Scott Vermillion, Paul Dougherty (Jorge Dely Valdez 83'), Ander Limpar, Paul Bravo (Ross Paule 95'), Junior Agogo.

July 4, 2001: A new Rapids milestone was set as John Spencer became the first Colorado Rapids player to record a hat trick as the Rapids defeated D.C. United 3-1 much to the delight of the 60,500. Wearing a unique red jersey in observance of Independence Day, the Rapids didn't waste any time, as Spencer scored just 48 second in when he took a long pass from goalkeeper Scott Garlick on the bounced and rifled a left-footed shot past United keeper Mike Ammann. DC's Jaime Moreno tied the match in the 56th, but Spencer put the Rapids back in the lead three minutes later when he ricocheted a shot off the left post and into the net. The Scotsman put the game away and sealed his first career hat trick when he first-timed another shot off the left post in the 81st minute.

Rapids lineup: Scott Garlick, Ritchie Kotschau, Chris Martinez, Robin Fraser, Chris Dawes, Marcelo Balboa, Jason Moore (Imad Baba 78), Carlos Valderrama, Paul Bravo (Ross Paule 46), Raul Diaz Arce (Chris Carrieri 58), John Spencer

July 4, 2002: For the 5th time in seven July 4th game, the visitors took the lead as the Chicago Fire's Ante Razov scored just nine minutes in. Trailing 1-0 at the half, Rapids coach Tim Hankinson replaced defender Jeff Stewart with Chris Carrieri to begin the second half, and the young forward gave his coach, and the all-time record crowd of 61,213, a performance of a lifetime. Carrieri tied the game in the 57th when he finished a give-and-go with Mark Chung, but Chicago regained the lead again when former Rapids midfielder Jason Moore scored in the 69th. The stage was set for another dramatic ending. In the 82nd, Carrieri evened the match with a cross-goal shot that hit side net, and he recorded the second hat trick in club history - both on July 4 - when he finished another Chung pass in the 87th to clinch the Rapids' 3-2 victory.

Rapids lineup: David Kramer, Ritchie Kotschau (Zach Kingsley 74), Jeff Stewart (Chris Carrieri 46), Robin Fraser, Wes Hart, Mark Chung, Chris Henderson, Kyle Beckerman (Raul Palacios 57), Carlos Valderrama, John Spencer.

PART II: 2003-2012 July 4th Recaps