Welcome to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for tonight’s match against the New England Revolution, a great opportunity for our team to pick up important points as we enter the second half of the season. Beautiful weather is in the forecast again, and with the sun setting over the mountains off in the distance, there’s no better place to watch soccer than here at our stadium. Thanks for coming out and spending your evening with us!
July is the busiest month of the season for our team this year, and they’re already off to a good start. Many of you were here on July 4 for the huge 2-0 win over the Red Bulls, followed by the always entertaining 4thFest fireworks show, and others joined us on July 7 for the 0-0 draw with D.C. United. We also visited Albuquerque for an international friendly match against Santos Laguna of Mexico last Friday, and despite the 2-1 loss, it was a chance for many players to get important minutes against a good team. Kevin Harbottle scored a great free kick, and goalkeeper Matt Pickens made his long-awaited return from injury in the match.
As we look at the first team, I want to single Chris Klute out for some praise. Last year, our technical staff brought him in on loan from the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL, and he performed well enough to earn a spot with the Rapids for this season. His tenacity and our coaching staff’s work with him have paid off, and last week we completed his transfer from Atlanta. We hope to continue seeing his strong performances with the Rapids for a long time.
Even outside the first team, the future looks bright. Our Under-16 Team is currently at the Development Academy Finals Week in Houston, which features only the top eight of 80 youth teams at that level from around the country (including all MLS clubs). They came back to tie their first game 2-2 after being down 2-0 in the second half, and on Tuesday night played to a tough 0-0 draw, keeping their shot at the top spot alive. The final group stage game is Thursday and we’ll all be pulling for them. Congratulations are also due to the Rapids Women, who finished their second season as part of our club with a 5-5-2 record, good for 4th place in the W-League Western Conference.
Also, you should take a look at the work of 8-year-old Charlie Flaxbeard, a Season Ticket Holder in Section 127, whose Lego construction of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park took home the top prize from our Service Team. We asked children of our Season Ticket Holders to build a replica of our stadium with their toys, and Charlie’s stood out. We had so many great entries that we might have to make this contest even bigger next year!
Thanks again for coming out, and welcome to all those here for Faith and Family Night and the performance by The City Harmonic. We always appreciate your support, especially as we’re pushing to earn a spot in the playoffs.
Come on you Rapids!
Follow Tim Hinchey on Twitter.