The 2018 MLS regular season schedule has been released and the Rapids digital & social staff have a breakdown of the must-see matches.
Richard Fleming - Snr. Director of Broadcasting/Play-by-Play Announcer
For a second successive season, Western Conference champions Seattle Sounders FC are the opponents for 4thFest, a match which marks the midway point of the regular season. Of those first 17 games, 10 are at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park. Of the 17 remaining games, 13 are against Western Conference teams. In other words, home form will be crucial in the first half of the season. The second half of 2018 will clearly offer the chance to steal a march on conference rivals, as the playoff push gathers pace.
On closer inspection, my eyes are drawn to the month of July. Not only - with six games - is it the most congested, but it starts with a trip to Vancouver on Canada Day, continues with Seattle at home on July 4, and concludes with a first-ever trip to D.C. United’s new home. In between, a second meeting with Real Salt Lake, a tough trip to Montreal, and a home clash with Houston Dynamo.
Gabby Carrier - Digital Manager
I was born just over 13 miles from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia and in the south, Saturday’s are for one thing and one thing only – college football. That statement held true until Major League Soccer announced a new franchise for 2017 – Atlanta United. Now in the Peach State, Saturdays are shared between both American football and soccer. That’s why I’m so excited for Atlanta United’s visit to Colorado this September 15. It’s a 1:30 PM kickoff. The leaves will be transitioning to their bright colors and it will feel a little bit like a college football Saturday out at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park.
In June 2017, the Burgundy Boys fell to the Five Stripes in their first-ever matchup. However, it’s a new year and I’ve got a hunch that things will be different. This year ATLUTD is coming to our house, and I can promise one thing – our players and supporters won’t go quietly. After a year as the newcomers, we’ve grown familiar with Atlanta’s style of play and what they’re about under the leadership of Tata Martino. We know what to expect from this squad entering their sophomore year, and you better believe this time we’ll be ready.
Anyone that has been to DSGP in September knows that there isn’t a better time of year to watch a big match and I expect to see you all at DSGP in full Colorado force ready to cheer the guys on to victory.
Dylan Gannon - Social Media & Content Manager
Not one, not two, not three, but four straight wins at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park over Sporting Kansas City and there’s no better time to make it five in a row than the 2018 home opener. Yes, I know we’re all sad we have to wait an extra three weeks before we host our first MLS game, but it could be worth the wait (especially if the boys put forth a strong showing in the CCL).
In their last seven meetings, the Burgundy Boys have earned 18 of a possible 21 points against their I-70 rivals with the only defeat coming last year at Children’s Mercy Park. One thing to note: the last three home victories for the Rapids over SKC have all come by a 1-0 scoreline. These will be two different teams, but we can still expect to see a physical affair.
Last thing I want to mention; we need all of you there to cheer the boys to victory! We need your passion. We need you to be loud. We need you to be that extra push that gives the team all three points to kickoff our home season. I for one can’t wait for this game to get here and I hope you all feel the same. Here’s to more moments like this against Sporting in 2018 (even though we sadly will not be seeing Kevin Doyle’s dab again).
Chris Roland - Club Video Producer
The first game I’d circle would, no doubt, be the first leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup in Salt Lake. It’s pretty early in the season, and I think getting a result could be a huge momentum boost regardless of our record at that time. I had the opportunity to sit down and interview some of C38 in the offseason, and when I asked about what they were hoping for in 2018, RMC was out of their mouths before I could even finish the question. So, there you go.
Hannah Jorich - Digital and Social Coordinator
One of the most anticipated matches for me this upcoming season arrives when the Rapids travel to face expansion side LAFC. The Burgundy Boys will travel to a familiar city for the game on Saturday, August 18, but will have a completely new experience. They will step onto a new pitch at Banc of California Stadium to face the 23rd, and newest, MLS franchise. It'll be their first time seeing LAFC's style of play, the crowd is sure to be electric and we still don't even know the full roster that LAFC coach Bob Bradley will have at his disposal. All of this has me eager for that mid-August clash. I’m excited to see Kortne Ford go up against Carlos Vela, the 19-year-old Urugayan forward Diego Rossi. Plus, LA isn't such a bad place to be in August. It may seem like a bit away, but those first 23 matches will fly by and it'll be here before we know it.
Alex McGeorge - Director of Digital and Social
There’s no doubt the club wants to return the Rocky Mountain Cup to Colorado. And home fixtures against new kids on the block LAFC as well as high-flying Atlanta will get noticed first and talked about most. But the matchup that stands out to me is the Decision Day showdown against our friends from Frisco, Texas. We get to face one of our biggest rivals in the final match of the season, on our home turf, with potential playoff implications? Let’s be honest, if we’re ranking all 34 matches on the prospect of drama, this is a clear-cut number one. Let’s also be honest that if Coach Hudson’s first season in burgundy is to be deemed a success, this game could be the most important of 2018. A little context - over the past three seasons FC Dallas have come to Colorado four times. The results of those matches? Four gritty and physical one-one draws. I would expect the intensity on October 28 to have a playoff feel, regardless of where the sides sit in the table that afternoon.