Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Update on the New Site...

Rapids Fans –

We want to give you an update on the progress of the team’s new website. Yes, for those that haven’t heard, we will be launching a new ColoradoRapids.com shortly. We’ll be joining the League network of sites, which we’re very much looking forward to.

Last Thursday, Major League Soccer launched the new League site, MLSsoccer.com (formerly MLSnet.com). As some fans that visited the website in the first few days may have experienced, the debut of the new site was not without glitches and elements that needed ironing out.

The next day, three other MLS teams launched their new sites. The Rapids were also in the queue to launch last Friday, however during our testing and reviews of the new site, we decided to wait until a few more of the bugs were cleaned up before giving the go ahead to launch.

MLSsoccer.com issued a statement on Monday evening explaining the reasons behind some of the major problems the sites were experiencing, and reiterating their commitment to delivering fans a great web experience. We fully believe this, because we know how hard the crew at MLS headquarters have been working on this project.

We’re confident that in short time, possibly as soon as Wednesday, we’ll be able to launch the new ColoradoRapids.com. It’s a major task that has been taken on, and we’re confident that in the not too distant future, all the pieces will come together.

We appreciate your support and understanding.


The Rapids Front Office

Bulldog Supporters Bus Info

Great showing by Rapids fans at The British Bulldog for the Rapids first viewing party last Friday (photo)! We also heard there were great turnouts at the viewing parties at Conor O'Niell's and Katie Mullens Pubs.

If any fan wants to join like-minded Rapids fans for the home opener, the British Bulldog is organizing a bus / ticket offer:

This Saturday, April 3rd, the Bulldog Supporters Group will be hosting a tailgate and bus trip to kick off the 2010 Rapids campaign. Cost for the bus and a ticket to the match is only $26. So come and join us in supporting the Rapids as they take on the Chicago Fire at Dick's Sporting goods Park! The bus will depart the Bulldog at 11:15am, for a 2pm kickoff. The Bulldog Supporters Group will be serving chili (veggie & meat) and keg beer before the match. You must RSVP via email asap if you would like a spot on the bus and a ticket to the match. Please send email to britishbulldogfc@gmail.com.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Jabulani Hunt Update

The Rapids adidas Jabulani soccer ball scavenger hunt is underway. We hid a bunch of these soccer balls throughout the Denver area. Anyone that finds one can keep it. But, we've also placed labels in each ball with instructions on how to claim additional prizes.

The balls were hidden on Saturday morning and we started hearning from fans that found some by Saturday evening. A few more were claimed on Sunday. And today, Monday, quite a few more have been found and claimed.

Among those claimed were the Jabulani's that were hidden at: Dick's Sporting Goods in Southglenn; on the statue at Civic Park (see photo above); at the Westminster Rec Center; in a wagon at the Denver Zoo (Below); at the Westminster Sports Center; at the Jeffco Athletic Fields; at Long Lake Ranch Park; the British Bulldog; and at the Cherry Cricket.

We realize some people may have found some of these Jabulani's and not followed through with the instruction to claim additional prizes. So, we checked the hiding spots this morning and saw that many were still in their original places. We'll be going around over the next couple days to check the remaining locations so we can either give more clues or let you know if they've all been found.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Notes from Opening Night...

Some notes following the 1-0 win over Chivas USA on Friday night to kickoff the 2010 season.

* It was the Rapids first-ever road victory to start a season in 15-year franchise history.

* Colorado has won 3 of their last 4 against Chivas at the Home Depot Center.

* Captain Pablo Mastroeni added to his franchise most 8 season opener appearances, 7 starts.

* MID Colin Clark made his first start since tearing his left ACL in August last season.

* MID Jeff Larentowicz, DEF Marvell Wynne and DEF Danny Earls made their first appearances (and starts) for Colorado. Wynne in line-up after being acquired by the Rapids just over 24 hours earlier.

* MID Wells Thompson made his first appearance for the Rapids as a second half sub coming in the 67th minute.

* Tonight's game was Danny Earls first career MLS appearance.

* Marvell Wynne started at center back for the first time in his professional career.

* 2010 second round SuperDraft pick MID Ross LaBauex made his first MLS appearance coming in for Colin Clark in the 78th minute.

* In FWD Omar Cummings last five games against Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center, he has 3 goals and 1 assist.

* The Rapids had four changes to their starting 11 tonight compared to the season opener against Chivas USA last season (three along the backline).

* This was the Rapids first road win since 3-2 win over New York on May 30, 2009.

* Colorado has won 3 of their last 4 season openers after going 0-9-2.


Coach Smith on the Opening Night Victory

Rapids Head Coach Gary Smith talks about the Rapids opening night win at Chivas USA and about newly acquired defender Marvell Wynne's first match with the club. Watch the videos below.


Omar Cummings Scores in 1-0 Win

The Rapids defeated Chivas USA 1-0 on Friday to earn their first-ever season opening victory on the road. Watch the video below to hear Omar's initial thoughts on the game.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Marvell Joins Rapids in LA

Thursday was a busy day for the Rapids and newly acquired Marvell Wynne, who comes to the Rapids in a trade with Toronto in exchange for Nick LaBrocca. The team finalized the trade hours before leaving for Los Angeles, and then Wynne started his trek from Toronto to California shortly after. After a long day, he met his new team at the hotel on Thursday night in LA. Go to our Youtube page or watch below for a short interview with Wynne...


Rapids Kickoff Tonight at Chivas USA

The guys have put in a lot of hard this preseason, and tonight they finally get to go out and play for something that counts. While the League started Season 15 last night with Seattle defeating the expansion Philadelphia Union 2-0, the Rapids kickoff tonight vs. Chivas USA in California (8:30 pm MT).

The game will be broadcast live and in HD in the region on KWGN-Channel 2. If you're not in the area, or don't get Channel 2, you can watch the game on MLSsoccer.com's MatchLive, or on the DirectKick Package on DirectTV, Dish Network, or check you cable company.

Some Notes:


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Roster Compliant...

The League earlier in the week mandated that all teams be roster compliant by 5 pm on Wednesday. This came on the heels of the newly announced CBA between the League and Players Union, which called for some changes to the roster specifics.

We'll try to condense what classifies as a compliant roster, with at least the most popular or common classifications...

* Teams can have no more than 24 eligible players on their rosters. Twenty players are classified as Senior Roster players, and four are classified as 'Supplemental' roster players (these players were formerly known as Developmental). Supplemental players must be under age 25, and their salaries don't count towards a team's salary budget (announced by MLS as $2.55 million for 2010).

* Eligible players must be signed to contracts and have all necessary paperwork completed and received by MLS, such as: loan agreements; International Transfer Certificate; appropriate work visa; or legal paperwork that permits them to work in the U.S. - such as permanent residence or refugee status.

* Teams may have a certain number of International players among the 24. These are non U.S. citizens or permanent residents (green card). All International player slots are tradable, therefore a team may have more than or less than the eight International players slots that were originally assigned prior to 2009. The Rapids have nine slots available.

Here's the Rapids official compliant roster as of today's deadline:

Goalkeeper: Matt Pickens, Steward Ceus^, Ian Joyce
Defenders: Danny Earls*, Julien Baudet*, Michael Holody^, Kosuke Kimura, Drew Moor, Oscar Murillo*, Scott Palguta, Rob Valentino^.
Midfielders: Mehdi Ballouchy*, Colin Clark, Jeff Larentowicz, Ross LaBauex, Nick LaBrocca, Pablo Mastroeni, Ciaran O'Brien^, Jamie Smith*, Wells Thompson.
Forwards: Andre Akpan, Conor Casey, Omar Cummings*, Ross Schunk

^ Supplemental (4)
* International (6 of 9 available)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mastroeni and Larentowicz on the CBA

MLS today unveiled some of the details of the new five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement between the League and the MLS Players Union that was agree to last weekend. After Tuesday morning's practice, we caught up with Pablo Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz to hear their thoughts on the process and reaction to the final agreement.

Undercurrent: Talk about the decision for you and the other MLS players to go to Washington D.C. last weekend to meet with MLS; what you think of the new CBA that was agreed to by the League and MLS Players Union…

Pablo Mastroeni:

"I think we were running up against the clock and we needed to get a deal done. I think both sides wanted to avoid a strike at all consequences, and in order to really hash that out we needed to have a group of people making decisions on the spot, and not having to get on conference calls and having people wait by their phones.

So, it was important that our reps got out there and more importantly that we found middle ground where both camps came away happy with the result and the progress that we’re making. And more importantly, both sides came away understanding that it’s going to take both of us to grow the league, and that one can’t do it without the other."

Undercurrent: On the influence of veteran players like yourself being part of the meetings…


"Having been the league for a while, you realize no change can happen overnight. I think the improvements that we’ve made in the league since I first started in 98 have been small, but none the less have progressed in the right direction.

This CBA, obviously, we were miles apart at one point, but we realized that too much change to any ecosystem would disturb it. All the while we want to make progress in the right direction so that in five years we can then look at how far we’ve come and then make the appropriate changes to further grow the league."

Undercurrent: Jeff, you were part of the CBA negotiations as a member of the NE Revolution, and continued that role after joining the Rapids. What were the differences in the discussion a few months ago, compared to this past weekend when the agreement was reached.

Jeff Larentowicz:

"I think that what it came down to was that both sides wanted to play this season, and they realized that if there was a work stoppage that it would take some time to heal what was done.

But I think in the last couple of negations, that like any collective bargaining, both sides had to find a common ground. I think that although the players union were for the longest time were pretty solid on their stance of what they wanted, I think that the League finally realized that it was probably time to make some changes and they did."

Undercurrent: What was the gap that was bridged from months ago?


"Sometimes it takes, in collective bargaining, to get close to or even reach the threshold where you’re standing on the edge of the cliff. As you walk forward you know that it’s approaching and it’s easier to say we can handle it later. There wasn’t as much of a strict deadline staring us in the face a few months ago.

When things were extended in February, it was easy to say, “Oh, we’ll do it later,” or “we’ll push it on a little bit more.” I think it was also a case of the folks at the league testing our resolve and testing how unified the players were. And once they realize that in the end, it was time for them to move."

Undercurrent: On the importance of MLS veterans participating in the negotiation...


"I think the changes that have come have allowed the league to reward players who have been in the league for a while and have shown some commitment to the league. The problem with the league was retaining high profile and talented players; players that would leave for more money and more rights elsewhere. At this point, what the league has done is found a way, slowly and incrementally, to reward those players who have been around for a while, and I think that that’s good."

Undercurrent: Did you see any difference from the players point of view from New England to Colorado?


"No. I think there was very little difference from team to team, and I think that was part of the reason that the league felt that they needed to change. It was not an instance where three or four teams got together and thought that things needed to change; it was across the board that there were 15 teams and now 16 teams new that they needed to stand together to really affect change in the process."


Friday, March 19, 2010

One Week Away...

The Rapids will kick off their 15th season a week from today when they travel to California to face Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center (March 26, 8:30 pm MT). Here are some notes to take you into the final off-season weekend.
  • With the inclement weather this morning, the guys were given the day off. They'll return for a couple of closed sessions this weekend on the fields here at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
  • Pablo Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz are excused as they represent the players in the on-going meetings with Major League Soccer.
  • We're in the process of finalizing a loan deal for goalkeeper Steward Ceus to join the Charlotte Eagles of the United Soccer League’s Second Division for the 2010 season. Fans may recall that the 6'6" keeper was loaned to Charlotte last summer. He started 10 games for the Eagles from June to August, posting four shutouts. The current deal is structured so that we can recall him at any time.
  • Midfielder Greg Dalby has been waived.
  • If you want to get a taste of what the 2010 MLS season will bring, be sure to tune in to Fox Soccer Channel's MLS Preview show tonight at 6 pm MT. We haven't looked up the replay schedule, but it may be shown at other times in case you miss it tonight.
  • And, if you want to read ESPN.com's 2010 preview on the Rapids, click here.
  • We'll have more details on the launch of our new website next week. In the meantime...
  • Midfielder Jamie Smith will be a regular 'blogger' for the website of Sport TV in his native Scotland. He wrote his first entry earlier this week: How Did I End Up Playing in America.
  • Also this week, FC Denver spoke to defender Drew Moor.
  • Our Premier League partners, Arsenal FC, drew Barcelona for the Quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League. Click here for more on the draw.
  • Rapids Season Ticket holders should be receiving their 2010 season ticket next week. Full Season Ticket Holder will also receive instructions on how to claim their exclusive gift, the burgundy and white Rapids adidas scarf that Omar Cummings is showing off in the photo above.

Have a good weekend.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Winter Storm Warning Cancels Charity Shield Match

The National Weather Service in Denver this morning issued a Winter Storm Warning from midnight Thursday to midnight Friday, calling for heavy snow (6-12 inches) and potential wind gusts up to 30 miles per hour for our area.

With this in mind, the Rapids and Seattle have cancelled the preseason Charity Shield match originally scheduled for Friday, March 19 here at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

Coloradoans are likely not too surprised that it's been 60 degrees and sunny the past couple of days - including right now at 11:30 am MT on Thursday as the team is wrapping up training on the fields at the complex...


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rapids Defeat Air Force 6-0 in Scrimmage

After a scoreless first half, the Rapids scored six unanswered goals in a 6-0 win over the Air Force Academy in a scrimmage played on the Rapids Training Field at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Pat Noonan led the scoring with a hat-trick, with Rob Valentino, Oscar Murillo, and trialist Andy Lorei adding one a piece. Click here for a game recap and lineup.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Back to Work..

After spending last week in cold and windy London, the team was welcomed back to training at Dick's Sporting Goods Park this morning with sunny skies and 55 degree weather. It was also the first time this spring that the team was able to practice on natural grass at home.

Prior to this week, the fields at Dick's Sporting Good Park were still frozen, thus too hard to train on early in the spring. Therefore, the team had taken to the turf fields for their home preseason workouts - until today.
With the backdrop of the snow-capped Rocky Mountain in clear view, the team went through a two-hour session out on Field 17. They'll be back on Wednesday for a morning workout, and then a scrimmage against the Air Force Academy later in the afternoon.
We caught up with head coach Gary Smith today to get his thoughts on the trip to England, the players coming back from injury, and the status of the roster:

Undercurrent: Tell us about the England trip; did you get what you wanted out of the trip, and how do you see the team on its return to Colorado?

Gary Smith: “We had a very bright morning today; I thought the guys looked very sharp. I think they’re really pleased to be back home, first and foremost, but on the back of an enjoyable and competitive trip as well.

There’s no doubt about it, the two games we played were physically demanding. The guys that are probably pushing at this moment in time towards the starting eleven got probably more minutes than most. But I certainly want to keep my mind open to the fact that we’ve got good players, good depth in the squad, and everybody should be given that opportunity.

We work towards Friday’s game on the back of that good week; with, I would hope, the fellows in really good spirits, and certainly fired up and enthused after being around such a good environment at Arsenal.”

Undercurrent: When the team left for England, you said you hoped to see some of the guys that had previously been injured in action. How do you evaluate their progress after last week?

“For sure, Pablo is at the top of that list of those injuries that have made the best progress. He played two periods - two 45 minutes. Physically he looks in great shape; I think he’ll just be working towards match sharpness now.

Colin Clark and Jeff Larentowicz slot in behind Pablo with 20 and 25 minutes of football in each game, and I think the pair of them are looking and feeling much better about themselves. With a good week under their belt this week – we have a lesser college game tomorrow – and then obviously a more competitive outing against Seattle on Friday, those two guys will play a good part in each game. And on the back of that, I would hope that they’re in contention for the following week and start of the season at Chivas.

Scott Palguta’s been out for a good period of time, and I think he’ll be certainly someway behind those three guys in competing for a place. And then, just extremely hopeful that some of the other bodies – Jamie Smith, who missed out against San Jose, trained again today – they’ve just got little niggles that I think is just going to keep them out of short periods.

The main group’s looking much more settled and I think working towards what will look a much more familiar lineup towards our first away game.”

Undercurrent: On the recent trialists and competition for spots – is that something you’ll continue looking at?

“I think we’re all pretty comfortable with the way the group’s coming together and settling in. For sure, always, every coach is looking to improve. And, the opportunity to bring in stronger depth, more competition, is just a process of time.

The fact that we have a settled 24 at the moment doesn’t necessarily mean that that will be the same 24 that starts the season. Sadly, that is the nature of the business we’re in. So if the opportunity to bring in better players is there, and that is always the key, than I’d like to be able to explore that. So don’t rule out the possibility of one or two additions before the season actually commences.


Images: Rapids' Float at St. Patrick's Day Parade

A big thanks to the Rapids supporters that took part in the Rapids float at last Saturday's Denver St. Patrick's Day Parade. Enjoy some photos and short video below.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Message for Season Ticket Holders

Hey Season Ticket Holders, here’s an important message regarding your season tickets:

If you signed up to receive your season tickets as paper tickets, they will be mailed to you the week of March 22nd. We are sending them via UPS, so please make sure we have an updated mailing address for you on file (no PO Boxes, please). If you need to update your address with us, you can do so by logging into Manage My Account or by emailing us at customerservice@dsgpark.com.

If you signed up for Flash Seats as your method of ticket delivery, they will arrive in your Flash Seat account that same week of March 22nd. You will receive an email notification once they arrive! Click here to learn more about Flash Seats.

We look forward to seeing you at our games this season.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Arsenal TV: Conor Casey's goal vs. Arsenal

Arsenal TV has provided us video highlights of the Rapids win over the Arsenal reserves from earlier this week, including Conor Casey's goal and post-game comments from Colorado head coach Gary Smith and Arsenal reserves manager Neil Banfield. Fan can see the clip below or visit the team's Youtube page by clicking here.


Rapids Drop Preseason Match to San Jose

The Rapids today dropped a preseason match by a score of 2-0 to fellow MLS side San Jose in a game played at Spurs Lodge in Chigwell, London, home training ground of English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur. San Jose received goals from Ryan Johnson and Quincy Amarikwa in the first and final ten minutes of the match, respectively, to earn the win.

The matchup was a contest between two MLS teams that are partners with London-based Premier League sides, the Rapids with Arsenal FC and San Jose with Tottenham. Colorado trained all week at Arsenal’s training center in Colney, and on Tuesday defeated the Arsenal reserves 1-0. Likewise, San Jose has spent the last week training in Chigwell, and also defeated their partner-club’s development side 1-0 on Wednesday.

Go to ColoradoRapids.com for a full recap.

SJ- Johnson (Alvarez) 10
SJ- Amarikwa 83

Colorado Rapids - Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura (Rob Valentino 67), Drew Moor (Oscar Murillo 67), Julien Baudet (Mike Holody 67), Jure Travner, Danny Earls (Colin Clark 67), Nick LaBrocca (Jeff Larentowicz 67), Pablo Mastroeni (Pat Noonan 46), Wells Thompson (Andy Lorei 67), Conor Casey (Andre Akpan 67), Omar Cummings (Ciaran O’Brien 80).

San Jose Earthquakes - Joe Cannon, Chris Leitch, Ike Opara (Bobby Burling 65), Jason Hernandez, Ramiro Corrales (Steve Beitashour 70), Joey Gjertsen (Justin Morrow 70), Brad Ring (Eduardo 70), Javier Robles (Simon Elliott 57), Bobby Convey (Antonio Ribeiro 75), Ryan Johnson (Quincy Amarikwa 75), Arturo Alvarez (Cornell Glen 65).


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Denver St. Patrick's Day Parade - Join Us!

UPDATE (3 pm MT): Thanks to those that emailed with interest to jump of the Rapids float for the Parade. We are full, but look forward to seeing many of you in the crowd.
Rapids fans,

The Rapids will be the only sports team in town entering a float in this Saturday's Denver St. Patrick's Day Parade, and we have limited space for any volunteer that wants to participate.

According to the organizers, the Denver St. Patrick’s Day Parade bears the reputation as the largest parade west of the Mississippi River and one of the largest in the United States. Over 230 individual units mass together in a parade of 10,000 plus participants. Winding through the streets of Lower Downtown Denver on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, over 200,000 spectators enjoy a three hour plus parade.

The Rapids’ float will be a mini-representation of the new Rapids Supporters Terrace, giving spectators a sample of the new Terrace at Dick's Sporting Goods Park this season.

1) Must wear a Rapids burgundy home jersey.
2) Fans 21 and over are preferred.
3) Must be willing to chant, sing, throw Rapids prizes to the crowd, and have fun!

Interested? Send an email to RapidsFanMail@dsgpark.com with the word "Float" in the subject line by 4 pm Friday. Give us your name, age and why you think you'd make a good float participant. Only a limited number of spots are available. We’ll reply with the meeting time and location.

Thanks. And even if you are not on the float, look for us on the route this Saturday, March 13th!

-Rapids Front Office


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Moor's Musing: Jokes in London

March 10
8:21 PM
London, England

Hey Everybody...

I was sitting in my hotel room chair this afternoon looking at my computer, when my roommate, Wells Thompson, suddenly yelled from the bathroom, "Gosh Dangit!! It happened again!"

I nearly jumped out of my chair when I saw him quickly come out from around the corner. I asked him what happened with a little bit of panic in my voice. Wells, very cool and collected, looked at me and said, "I got better looking...."

Well, ya'll might not think that's very funny, but when your body is in that transition phase into a time zone 7 hours ahead from what you're used to, many STUPID things can be funny. Like earlier today, Matt Pickens laughed at a Mike Holody TERRIBLE joke for 10 straight minutes, that I don't think even made sense...but that's what happens when your body is in the twilight zone.

Needless to say, the time adjustment has been tougher than most of us probably expected. Of course, we played the morning after we got here, which didn't make it any easier. However, there was a two hour time span yesterday when EVERYBODY was well awake as we were treated to one of the greatest experiences that the world's game has to offer. Our brother club Arsenal absolutely demolished Porto in the Champions League 5-0!

The Emirates Stadium's atmosphere was unbelievable, and the Gunner's were as good as it gets. I thought it was great because sometimes those big European matches can be very defensive and can lack action at times...This match was nothing like that. Not to mention, I missed the first three minutes of the match because my eyes were focused on the Porto supporter's section mixing it up big time with the Arsenal security teams. Last night was such a great experience.

We've also been treated to one of the best soccer training facilities that I have ever seen. Arsenal's training "centre" (think they spelled it wrong) is too cool. And the food there is pretty fantastic too.

Our game yesterday morning against the Arsenal reserves was a nice 1-0 victory on a Conor Casey goal. With tired legs, I felt it was a pretty good performance where we were very organized defensively, and created some good scoring chances in attack.

A couple training sessions tomorrow and a match against San Jose Friday should wrap things up nicely here in London - before we head back to Denver, where I know everyone here is ready to make that final preseason push before we start the regular season.

Hopefully our bodies will have adjusted before we end up heading back and have to get used to Denver time again...And even more importantly, hopefully my teammates will come up with better jokes...(Any suggested joke is welcomed....)

Later Ya'll,

Drew M.

Rapids Boxing in England

The team has had a busy couple of days in England since arriving on Monday. On Tuesday, following the preseason win over the Arsenal reserves, the group attended the Champions League game between Arsenal and Porto, which our Premiership friends won 5-0 to advance to the tournament's Quarterfinals.

Today, the Rapids went boxing.

Some fans may recall a video we posted on our Facebook page a few weeks ago showing how the team uses boxing as part of their conditioning training. For Wednesday's training session, the players visited Monster Gym in Cheshunt and had the chance to actually get in the ring.

Fans can see Steward Ceus and Drew Moor lacing up the gloves in the video below, or visit our Youtube Page to watch this and other team videos. You can also see more photos of the team's trip to England on our Facebook page.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rapids Team Notes: March 10, 2010

As the team continues preseason training in England, let's bring you up to date on some recent team notes:

* The Rapids have signed 24-year old goalkeeper Ian Joyce. The Seton Hall University product has played his entire professional career in England since joining Grays Athletic FC in 2007, then moving to Watford and most recently with Southend United.
* The team has officially released forward Facundo Diz.
* While trialist Andy Lorei traveled with the team to England, on Wednesday morning the Rapids were joined by another trialist: Jure Travner, a defender currently with Watford FC.
* Scott Palguta has Achilles tendonitis and is rehabbing at Dick’s Sportings Good Park.
* Ross Schunk had surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee. Schunk suffered the injury in the Rapids’ preseason game against Real Salt Lake on Feb. 26 in Arizona.
* 2010 third-round MLS SuperDraft pick defender Chad Borak and Colombian midfield trialist Rolan De La Cruz have not been extended contracts and are no longer with the team.
* Rapids 2010 second round MLS SuperDraft picks Andre Akpan and Ross LaBauex, who were signed prior to the MLS SuperDraft, will use jersey numbers #24 and #16, respectively. (Though we're told those numbers could change if other numbers become available).
* Rob Valentino is switching his jersey number from #35 to #7.
* The Rapids have welcomed back John Ireland as the club's new Fitness Coach. Ireland returns for a sixth season with the Rapids, having served in a similar capacity with the club during the 2000-2004 seasons. Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, his background includes working with English Premier League side Derby County Football Club, the LA Galaxy, and the Colorado Mammoth, where he was a staff member during their 2006 National Lacrosse League World Championship.

The Rapids defeat Arsenal Reserves in Preseason Match

The Rapids defeated Arsenal FC’s reserves 1-0 this morning to earn their first preseason win of the spring. The game, played in cold and windy conditions at Arsenal's training ground, kicked off at 4:30am MT. Conor Casey tapped in a cross from Omar Cummings in the 52nd minute for game-winner. The match was the first of the year for Casey, Pablo Mastroeni, Colin Clark, and the newly-acquired Jeff Larentowicz and Danny Earls. Check back later for video highlights. Click here for the recap and lineups.

Arsenal TV: The Rapids' Arrival and Workout in London

Our friends at Arsenal TV are covering the Rapids stay in England with great behind the scenes videos so that fans can follow the team from afar. In the first installment of the week, Arsenal TV documents the Rapids' arrival in London and workout at the Arsenal FC training grounds on Monday.

If things go as intended, we'll be looking to add videos daily. Given the time difference from Denver to England, and Arsenal's Champions League game tonight, we're hopeful that tomorrow we can present images from today's preseason win over Arsenal's reserves.


Monday, March 8, 2010

The Rapids arrive in London; visit Arsenal training ground

We’re here…

Greeting from merry old England. The Rapids arrived in London this morning for the second-leg of their preseason preparations outside of Colorado amidst a long travel day.

The team’s day began on Sunday at 11 am Mountain Time when the squad boarded a bus at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park headed to Denver International Airport for their 2 pm flight. Following a minor delay leaving the Mile High City, we landed in Chicago for what was to be a 45 minute layover. Luckily for us, our connecting flight was only a few terminals down at O’Hare Airport, though our hold-up in Denver resulted in a very quick plane switch before we were up in the air once again.

We touched down in at London-Heathrow and made our way through customs around 9:30 am local time. After 10 hours of flight time, you could see the same hazy look on everyone’s face, as they tried to re-establish their bearings and at the same time were happy to stretch their legs and be off a plane.

We were welcomed at the airport by members of Arsenal TV, who will be documenting much of our week here in London for an exclusive special.
From bus ride, to domestic flight, to international flight, and back to a bus, we next made the 30+ minute trek to the Arsenal Training Centre. Once there, the team gathered for a light jog and stretch. While the brisk workout helped wake up their sleepy bodies, the biggest ‘good morning you’re in London’ came from the freezing temperature and bone chilling wind cutting through the grounds.

As the Rapids got their first workout in of the week, the group of Arsenal U16 and U18 players practiced on an adjacent pitch and the Arsenal first team had a brief walk through session on their training field ahead of their Champions League match tomorrow against Porto (which we will be attending!).

After lunch at the grounds (or breakfast depending on your internal clock), the team finally arrived at the Village Hotel.
The group’s schedule for the rest of the day only includes a team dinner. The hotel sits in a small business park not far from the Training Centre. One thing that always stands out about hotels in England is that the double beds in each room are about five inches apart from each other.

Make sure to continue checking back all this week on all the Rapids’ digital platforms for the latest London updates, including tomorrow’s match against the Arsenal Reserves.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Rapids Depart for England

Rapids players, coaching staff, and team personnel met at Dick's Sporting Goods Park this morning, finished packing their bags, loaded the bus, and left for the airport. For the third time in the last four years, the Rapids’ preseason plans include a trip over 4,600 miles away to London, England.

The team is on their way for a week of training at the grounds of partner club and perennial English Premier League contender Arsenal Football Club. The Rapids’ England trip will run from March 7-14 and will include matches against the Arsenal Reserves on Tuesday and fellow Major League Soccer side the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday.

Stay tuned for updates, photos, videos, and more while the guys are overseas.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Conor Casey Signs Long-term Contract

The Rapids announced today that forward Conor Casey has signed a new three-year contract, keeping the Denver-raised MLS All-Star and U.S. National team forward in Colorado amid re-newed interest from international clubs.

Rapids Managing Director Jeff Plush made the announcement at a press conference held on the soccer practice field at Casey’s alma mater, Denver South High School. Among those present were Conor's parents, his former coach at South HS, and the current boys and girls soccer teams.

As a senior at South HS, Conor was named Colorado Player of the Year, first-team Colorado All-State, and All-American. He went on to star at the University of Portland for two years before beginning his professional career in Germany.

Since joining the Rapids in 2007, Casey has scored 29 goals in 60 games, which places him fourth in team history (Paul Bravo is first with 39 goals). In 2009, Conor set a new Rapids single-season scoring record with 16 goals. He was named to the mid-season MLS All-Star team and the MLS Best XI squad at year's end.

He also scored two goals for the U.S. Men's National in the World Cup qualifying 3-2 over Honduras last October, which clinched the U.S. a berth into the 2010 FIFA World Cup.


Colin Clark back on the field...

The guys took to an offsite swimming / fitness session on Wednesday, but were back here at Dick's Sportings Good Park this morning, where they held an 11 v 11 practice session. The key note coming from today's training was the return of midfielder Colin Clark, who participated in his full training session with the team since tearing his left ACL last August, an injury which caused him to miss the rest of the 09 season.

The guys will have a two sessions on Friday and one on Saturday before leaving for London on Sunday to continue preseason training.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rapids Midfielder Jamie Smith Talks 2010

Soccer365.com has posted a good interview with Rapids second year player Jamie Smith.

The Scottish midfielder was just hitting his stride last season when he was sidelined with injury; in the article he talks about his rehab as well as looks ahead to what hopefully promises to be a much better year for the Rapids' #20.

Some of Smith's excerpted quotes:

“You come into a new club and you want to impress, you want to make your mark. To get injured it’s really frustrating because I had certain complications with the injury.

“Last season, I got a good relationship with all the guys and obviously that’s real important. Because I was injured I got more time to get the time to know the guys much more in the locker room, going out for food, or whatever. There’s no one in the team I’ve got a problem with at all. They’re a nice bunch of lads. That’s part of training here, the last 3-4 weeks every day, getting to know what players' strengths and weaknesses are, different qualities are.

“When I went back home for the offseason, my athletic trainer had written up a field program for me---very detailed. It was just stick to that as much as possible, and it was more just trying to strengthen the muscles round about my knee so I was ready to go from the first day.”

Read the entire article here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Rapids Supporters' 2010 Kickoff Party on the Terrace - March 19

Rapids Supporters groups Class VI and the Centennial Firm have announced that they will be hosting their annual season kickoff bash at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Friday, March 19, prior to the Rapids' Charity Shield match vs. Seattle.

The Rapids Supporters' kickoff party will be free and open for all to attend (to all fans holding a game ticket for that night's match) and will be the first-ever opportunity for fans to experience the brand new Rapids Supporters Terrace, which will be christened that night as the supporters test out their lungs and legs on the terracing platforms for the first time as a trial run for Opening Day.

All existing and interested Rapids supporters are invited to attend, and encouraged to bring friends, co-workers, teammates and others....this isn't just a party for parting sake; it's also a recruiting event to try and bring more members into the Rapids Supporters Clubs' ranks!

Excerpted details from the Rapids Supporters' e-vite below:

"Come join Rapids Supporters Association groups Class VI and Centennial Firm as they kick off the 2010 season with a bang at their annual preseason bash and recruiting event!

Be the first to experience MLS's newest and most exciting feature as the Colorado Rapids, Class VI, and C-Firm use the Supporters preseason party to unveil the exclusive new Supporters Terrace!

The party will begin at 4PM, before gates open for the "Charity Shield" match on Friday, March 19th against the Seattle Sounders. Come join the supporters and fans on the Supporters Terrace for some great pre-match events such as:

- Free food and drinks!
- Some incredible door prizes!
- A silent auction featuring some amazing items such as team-signed equipment, player-used gear, and some amazing Rapids experiences!
- Some great camaraderie with hundreds of passionate Rapids fans!
- And who knows, perhaps some recognizable Rapids faces will make an appearance!

Match tickets start at only $10 and all proceeds go to UNICEF's efforts to provide
relief to Haiti.

Already a supporter? Curious about the supporters groups? Just a fan looking for a fun evening? No problem!

Grab your friends and family and come down to the party. Buy a team-signed jersey in the auction. Enjoy some free dinner before the match and come see what fun it is to be seated or standing with the Rapids' best fans as we look to pack the Terrace and section 108 and cheer on the Rapids all the way to MLS Cup 2010!"

For more information on Class VI and Centennial Firm, as well as further details on the Season Kickoff Party, click here.