Tim Hinchey

Matchday welcome: Rapids host Portland Timbers

Dear Rapids Fans,

Welcome to the 2014 Home Opener, our first match of the season here at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park! After a long offseason, we’re thrilled to be getting back on the pitch and excited to see all of you here at the stadium. Despite the foul weather in the forecast, all of our staff is prepared for whatever comes our way, and we’ll be ready to kick off at 4 p.m. today!  We are Colorado for Life!

This is a special day for many reasons, but perhaps at the top of that list is that our new Head Coach, Pablo Mastroeni, will make his home debut. After one of the most impressive and distinguished playing careers for any American soccer player, Pablo has taken up a new challenge and has already done a tremendous job. We’re honored to have him leading our team, and excited for everything that lies ahead for him and our club.

The team is already playing in Pablo’s style, working hard to keep possession of the ball and find attacking opportunities, all while pressuring hard on defense. There are some new faces: players like Spanish defensive midfielder José Mari, rookies Marlon Hairston, Grant Van De Casteele, Jared Watts and John Berner, and wingers Marvin Chávez and Charles Eloundou.

This team continues to be a great mixture of veteran leadership and young talent, and in last week’s 1-1 draw at the New York Red Bulls in the season opener, we saw both. Berner stepped in for Clint Irwin and did a great job in his first professional match, and Vicente Sánchez was calm and collected as he scored the penalty to tie the game.

There are a few things happening today that I would like to draw your attention to before we kick off. First of all, we encourage you to attend our Rapids SoccerFest, with plenty of activities and giveaways, just to the south of the stadium outside Eighteen76, which will be open starting at 1 p.m.

You will also see signs around the stadium from our partners and sponsors, both new and returning, and we want to thank them again for all their support. Whether it’s the players entering the field from the new National Guard tunnel in the northeast corner, or the opportunity to purchase healthy Fairlife milk at the concession stands, we appreciate our partners’ work to improve the matchday experience here at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

This afternoon we will welcome Brad Corrigan, of Dispatch, who is singing the national anthem before the match. A friend of our club, Brad played a wonderful set at our Cheers to the Rapids event on Wednesday night at the Paramount Theatre for those who were lucky enough to attend. A warm welcome also goes out to our Rapids Live hosts: Conor McGahey, who many of you already know, and Harper Babin, who is in her first day on the job.

As always, we are looking to provide you with the best experience possible for Rapids matches, and our Customer Service staff is always available. Please look for them if you have any questions, and you can always reach me on Twitter, @tkhinchey3.

Come on you Rapids!

Tim Hinchey

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