When you think of Rapids greats, chances are Marcelo Balboa is the first one to come to mind. The defender is not only one of the best players in Rapids history, but he is one of the best in the history of Major League Soccer, and is a natural addition to the team's All-Time Best XI.
Balboa was the first superstar in team history. When he joined the club in its inaugural season in 1996, he already touted an impressive resume. He had become the first player to ever earn 100 caps for the US Men’s National Team in 1995 and had helped lead the way in two FIFA World Cups.
When he joined the Rapids, he promptly lived up to the hype.
In the Rapids first home game, he scored two out of the team's three total goals to lead the club to their first-ever victory. Things just got better from there.
Balboa played 151 total matches for the club, starting 146, putting him in fourth all-time. He is also eighth in goals scored (24) and seventh in assists (23), and, most notably, is the only defender to make the top ten in either list.
The list of outstanding achievements for Balboa with the club goes on. In 2000, he scored a bicycle kick that was named the MLS Goal of the Year, and, in 2001, he became the first defender in MLS history to surpass 20 goals and 20 assists. During his six seasons with the team, the club made the playoffs four times and Balboa was named a MLS All-Star five times.
When the team introduced the gallery of honor, he was among the first inductees. He was also named to the MLS All-Time Best XI in 2005 and has a spot in the Colorado Sports and US Soccer hall of fames.
Balboa’s legacy continues to be synonymous with the club. He currently works for Altitude TV as a color commentator for Rapids matches and is in his 13th season covering the team.