Thursday, April 29, 2010

Photos, Links, and Notes...

We don't want to make the weather a point of conversation here all the time, but spring time here in Denver varies so much that it often forces the team to adapt from one day to the other.
For instance, on Wednesday, the guys were training under sunny skies and near 80 degree temps. Then, on Thursday, it was snowing on our way to the stadium - so the hats, gloves, and sweats were back out.
The team leaves for San Jose on Friday after their morning practice.

Here are some team links and notes:
  • For starters, here are some notes on the match up this weekend between the Rapids and San Jose. The game is on Sat, May 1 at 8 pm MT, live on KWGN-Channel 2.
  • Don't forget that the Official Away game viewing party on Saturday is The Oak Tavern in Lodo: 1414 Market Street.
  • Our new website it moving along. Still some frustrations but also much progress. Have you seen the new video page? Click here to see the Rapids in-stadium pre-game video.
  • No changes on the injury front. Ross and Ciaran are still out, though Ciaran has been working with the training staff out on the fields the past week or so. Also, Jamie Smith looks to be out this weekend after re-aggrevating his hamstring towards the end of last week.
  • Pablo was the guest on Class VI's Six Questions this week. Click here to listen to him talk about his goal versus New England, his celebration, the team's formation, yellow card messages, the World Cup, and more.
  • Did you read abou the star youth player from Salt Lake that left Utah to play for the Colorado Rapids U-18s? Click here for the story.
  • Former Rapids' midfielder Terry Cooke was back in Denver and was interviewed by Tribalfootball. Click here to read.
  • Quincy Amarikwa will be returning to San Jose this weekend for the first time since he was traded to Colorado. Still a fan favorite for Quakes fans, he talks to about his transition, his classes, and more. On that note, Quincy has gone the way of Ceus with his new hair-style.
  • If you haven't heard or read, our partner-club Pachuca has won the CONCACAF Champions League for the third time in four years. They'll play in the FIFA Club World Cup once again in December.
  • Did you notice the picture on last week? With Conor and Pablo congratuling each other and the Supporters Terrace celebrating? Here it is.
  • The New York Red Bull defeated the Philadelphia Union in an Open Cup play-in game 2-1 on Tuesday. New York will now host New England on May 12, with the winner hosting the Rapids (before June 9) for the right to enter the 2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
  • The Rapids return home next Wednesday, May 5 to host the LA Galaxy (7:30 pm MT). One of our partner radio stations, KTCL 93.3FM, will be offering perks for the first 93 members to flash their membership card prior to the game. Click here for more info.
  • 93.3 is also doing another promotion: win a chance to sing on stage with the pre-game tailgate party band, The Synthetic Elements. Click here for more.
  • We're not too far from the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. If any of you are going, you may want to check out U.S. Soccer resource guide by clicking here.
  • We'll leave you with's Jonah Freedman's story on the Respect factor...are Conor Casey and other the Dangerfields of the USMNT?


Sunday, April 25, 2010

VIDEO and LINKS: Rapids 2, Revs 1

On Saturday, the Rapids received goals from Mehdi Ballouchy and Pablo Mastroeni to beat the New England Revolution 2-1 at Gillette Stadium. Colorado is now 3-1-1, 10 points on the season and in second place in the Western Conference.

Couple of quick notes:
  • The 10 points after five games is the most in team history. The previous best was in 2002, when the club past the 10 point mark in the sixth game of the year.
  • This was the team's third road win of the year: two in MLS play and the road victory over the KC Wizards in the Open Cup play-in game.
  • Mastroeni scored his third goal in 162 games played for Colorado. It was the 27th time he's faced New England in his career, more than any other MLS team.
  • Colorado has yet to give up a goal from the run of play this season. All five goals surrendered have come on set pieces: one corner (CHI), two PKs (CHI, TOR), two freekicks (KC, NE).
  • The team lined up in a different formation than the first four games. Mastroeni and Larentowicz were in holding spots in front of the defense, with Mehdi Ballouchy in front, Omar Cummings and Wells Thompson on the sides, and Conor Casey up top. Something like a 4-2-3-1.
  • It seems this may have surprised former Rapids goalkeeper - current Revs - Preston Burpo, who said after the game: "Give Colorado credit. They played well tonight; they actually tried to play on the road which, to be honest, is quite a shock because they never do."

Watch Smith and Ballouchy's post-game comments below:


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The New

Today we launched the new, in beta form. We'll be keeping our current (old) site live for the short term as fans get used to the new site and as we continue to fine tune it.

Click here to go to the new; have a look around and let us know your thoughts, either by posting comments or via email:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

VIDEO: Highlights and Smith on 3-1 Win over Toronto

The Rapids took advantage of three set piece goals to defeat Toronto 3-1 on Sunday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, extending the team's unbeaten run at home to seven games dating back to last August.

Conor Casey knocked in two penalty kicks and Jeff Larentowicz curled in a free kick for the Rapids, while Dwayne De Rosario scored on a penalty kick for the visitors. Read the recap here and watch highlights from the game by clicking here. Or...

Click here to see Casey's first penalty kick.
Click here to see Larentowicz free kick.
Click here to see Casey's second penalty kick.

Casey has scored 32 career goals in a Rapids uniform - in 64 games -moving into third place on the team's all-time goal scoring chart. He trails Paul Bravo who scored 39 goals in 135 games with Colorado, and John Spencer who racked up 37 goals in 88 games with the Rapids.

Head Coach Gary Smith talks about the game in the video below:


Friday, April 16, 2010

Notes: Sunday's Home Game

The team is back home after the two games last week in KC. On Sunday, April 18 the Rapids will welcome Toronto FC for a 3 pm MT kickoff at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Click here to read a bunch of notes on the matchup. Here's the official game notes provided to TV.

Some other notes to bring you up on:

  • Goalkeeper Steward Ceus, who made his official Rapids debut in the 2-1 win over KC on Tuesday, has returned to the Charlotte Eagles - the team to which he's been loaned to. Ian Joyce, who backed up starting keeper Matt Pickens in the season opener, has returned from an ankle injury that required us to call Ceus back for the Chicago and Kansas City games.
  • Defender Rob Valentino has been waived. We had been considering a loan to Tampa Bay, but it turned out that it was in the best interest to cut ties. Although Rob was a Generation adidas player, his contract was created in a way which allowed for such a release.
  • With that note, Claudio Lopez will use #7, which up until last week Valentino had occupied.
  • We also want to clarify one error. At Tuesday's game, the stats crew, media, and it seems like everyone that observed the Rapids' game-winning goal had Claudio Lopez with the assist. We talked to Claudio and other players that were nearby on the play, and they all confirmed that Claudio fed Mehdi Ballouchy, who advanced the ball to Wells Thompson for the winner. Thus, Mehdi will go down as having the only official assist on the play (U.S. Soccer registers at max one assist per goal).
  • Staying on that topic, this week it was determined - by coin toss - that the Rapids will play the next play-in game for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on the road. New York will host Philadelphia on April 27, with the winner hosting the New England Revolution on May 12. The Rapids will play at one of those three locations (before June 9), with the winner advancing to the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16.
  • Fans should know that the visiting supporters section at Dick's Sporting Goods Park has been moved from section 136 to the top rows of section 121.
  • The Rapids away game at Chicago originally scheduled for May 22 has been moved to Wed. June 9. TV details still to come.
  • If you're coming to the game on Sunday, join us in the Cantina for the pre-game TV show and / or Marcelo Balboa's post-game From the Pitch radio show, sponsored by Dick's Sporting Goods.
  • The Denver Post's coverage: Lopez Brings Unpredictability. Balboa on the '09 Rapids.
  • Get to know a little more about the Ginger Ninja by listening to Six Questions with Class IV, an interview with Jeff Larentowicz. Click here to listen.
  • American Soccer News: "is ultra-positive, ultra-bright, and ultra-effective."
  •'s Grant Wahl did a QnA with former Rapids forward Shaun Bartlett. Did you know that when Barlett was sold by MLS to Zurich in 1997, it was at the time the biggest transfer fee received by the young league. Click here to read more.
  • Here's another story on another former Rapids player, goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann.
  • And finally, Jamie Smith saw his first minutes last week after coming back from injury. Click here for his latest blog post to SportTV.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Video Clips: Thompson, Bunbury goals

Below are some highlights of Tuesday's game between the Rapids and Kansas City, courtesy of the Wizards. Due to some technical difficulties, they unfortunately (for Rapids fans) missed Thompson's game-winning goal; but you will be able to see his first as well as KC's goal, and a few other clips.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

VIDEO: Thompson, Smith on Open Cup Play-In Victory

The Colorado Rapids defeated the Kansas City Wizards 2-1 on Tuesday in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play-in game. Wells Thompson scored both goals for the Rapids, one in the 24th and one in the 80th, to help Colorado advance to the next phase of qualifying for the 96 year-old tournament. Click here for more on the match.

Watch Wells and coach Gary Smith talk about the victory below.


U.S. Open Cup Qualifier: Rapids at KC, Tonight at 6:30

The Rapids begin their quest for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tonight with a play-in game against the Kansas City Wizards at 6:30 p.m. MT. Click here for more on the 2010 pairings and how Colorado and KC have fared against each other in Open Cup play.

While there won't be a radio or TV broadcast, we will be bringing you a live, play-by-play through Cover it Live below.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Training in KC - Sunday

About 12 hours after arriving at the team hotel following Saturday's game, the Rapids were at the Kansas City Wizards training center beginning preparations for Tuesday's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Qualifier.

There were some different faces at the morning workout. Pablo Mastroeni, Colin Clark, Julien Baudet, and Conor Casey returned to Denver on Sunday, while Claudio Lopez, Andre Akpan, and Michael Holody arrived in KC.

One item to note: the U.S. Open Cup allows teams to list no more than five international players on a game day roster. For the Rapids, the available internationals for Tuesday will be Danny Earls, Jamie Smith, Claudio Lopez, Omar Cummings, and Mehdi Ballouchy.

Some more photos from Sunday's workout...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

VIDEO and LINKS: Rapids 0, Kansas City 1

The Rapids fell to Kansas City 1-0 on Saturday night, evening their record at 1-1-1 early in the season.
And finally, watch the video below of Smith's post-game comments followed by thoughts from Conor Casey.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

NOTES (and video): Facing KC Twice in Four Days

What a nice day to be back out on the training field: yesterday's practice turned out to be an indoor workout because the fields were covered in snow. Today: blue skies, sun, and a pleasant 60 degree temps.

The team has a Friday morning practice and then leaves for Kansas City, where they'll play the Wizards twice in four days. Saturday's game is a regular season contest that will be played at their current home, CommunityAmerica Ballpark (6:30 pm MT, official viewing party at SOBO 151.)

The two sides will meet again four days later in a qualifying game for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup: Tuesday, April 13th at Stanley H. Durwood Stadium on the campus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City (8:30 pm MT). Click here for the game preview and additional game notes.

Some other notes:

  • The Rapids acquired forward Quincy Amarikwa from San Jose on Wednesday in exchange for the clubs natural 2nd Round selection in the 2011 SuperDraft.
  • Quincy will take one of the roster spots that opened up when we placed Ross Schunk (knee) and Ciaran O'Brien (hip) on injured reserve. They'll both miss at least the next six games. In the meantime, they won't take up a roster spot.
  • MLS clarified the roster limits today, giving clubs more options to add home-grown talent.
  • Claudio Lopez still hasn't received his visa, so at the moment, he's in a holding pattern. There's still a chance it could be granted before rosters close for the weekend on Friday afternoon. Then it's up to the coaches to decide if when to add him to the roster and/or when they feel he's ready to play.
  • The loan of keeper Steward Ceus to Charlotte was completed. However, since Ian Joyce injured his ankle last week, we called Ceus last week back per the loan agreement. Steward was here all week and is likely to travel for both the Kansas City games.
  • Speaking of Ceus, here had a new look. Before. After.
  • We're also in the process of potentially loaning out Rob Valentino to Tampa Bay Rowdies of the newly-named USSF D-2 Pro League (formerly USL D-1). In order to get him started - similar to what happened with Ceus - he's already in Tampa training with the team.
  • Some may have notice a couple of number changes: Andre Akpan will wear #19 for the year, and Oscar Murillo will wear #6. Amarikwa will use #12. Lopez was wearing #7 during the week, the number Valentino had been using.
  • The club today announced another adidas Alliance Partner, the Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club. Here's more info.
Below is a short video of Gary Smith talking about facing KC twice in four days...


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Scrimmage vs. University of Denver

After having Monday off, the team was split into two for Tuesday's two sessions. One group trained in the morning, and another set of players came in for a scrimmage against the University of Denver in the afternoon.

The wind blew strong during both time slots, however the temps had dipped considerably by the time the scrimmage was set to start at 2 pm. Still, the coaching staff was able to give a few roster players a full 90 minutes of game action. Scott Palguta, Michael Holody, Ross LaBauex, Oscar Murillo, Steward Ceus, and Andre Akpan played the full 90 and were complimented on the field by a few guest players and Rapids Academy players.

The teams played to a scoreless first half; however Denver then scored twice in the first 15 minutes of the second to take a 2-0 lead. The Rapids and company would come back to win the scrimmage, using goals by guests Nick Cardenas and Andy Lorei to even the score and one from rookie Andre Akpan in stoppage time for the winner (photo above).


Monday, April 5, 2010

Mile High Music Festival 2010 Lineup and Details

While the following is not soccer-related, we thought many of you may also be interested in music in addition to the Rapids and soccer.

Today, the Mile High Music Festival announced the lineup for the 2010 show on The Fields at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Featuring the Dave Matthews Band and Jack Johnson and over 40 other performers, the event comes to town on August 14 - 15. Tickets go on sale on Saturday, April 10. Click here for more details and/or watch the video below for the rest of the lineup.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

VIDEO: Smith, Casey on the game; Highlights.

Colorado and Chicago tied today 2-2 in the Rapids home opener. Omar Cummings scored his second of the season while Conor Casey scored his first, off a penalty kick. Click here for a summary and lineups.

Thanks to, we have highlights of Omar and Conor's goals, as well as a highlight package of the game. Click on the links above or go to

Below you can watch videos of Rapids head coach Gary Smith and Conor talking about the game.
Smith on the game:

Conor on the game:


Friday, April 2, 2010

Palguta Checks in (Before the Opener)

Hey Y'all,

Sorry for the "y'all" thing. I thought I'd try to be like Drew for a quick second. Anyways, I thought I would give ALL OF YOU a quick update ahead of tomorrow's home opener against Chicago.

Although the 2010 season is just over a week old, we've already learned a few important things about this year's team:

First off, we know we are capable of going into a difficult environment and pulling out a win. Even more impressive, however, was our ability to record a clean sheet with a few new faces in the lineup.

Without even a practice together under their belt, Drew and newcomer Marvell Wynne stymied the Chivas attack for 90 plus minutes, while Pablo and Jeff frustrated their midfield all night long. We also know that Jeff, Pabs, and Colin--who all underwent surgery in the offseason--are fully fit and ready to contribute on a weekly basis.
Less importantly, we've learned some other interesting tidbits over the last week or so:
  • Ciaran O'Brien is still good for 2-3 petty locker room fines per week (although, that's like saying "Omar is still fast").
  • Jamie Smith is learning to throw a pretty tight spiral with Drew's Tony Romo mini football. Jamie also might be the biggest Rockies fan in all of Denver. Explain that one to me!
  • Mike Holody, if given the opportunity, would wrestle a toothless, clawless bear (but only for money).
  • Ross LaBauex never stops talking.....ever.
  • Oscar no habla ngles. But even he wishes Ross would stop and take a breath every now and again.
  • I won't be winning the team NCAA basketball pool, but I'm still proud of Cornell's run to the Sweet 16. Who is the likely winner? It's still too soon to tell, but we knew Larentowitz would finish last over a week ago. Unlucky, Jeff.
While only one game, last week's result was an excellent way to start the season and we hope that small bit of momentum, coupled with a strong week of training and the support of our fans, will provide us with enough of a lift to beat the Fire tomorrow afternoon.

The boys are definitely well prepared, confident, and relaxed for the game tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone for hanging in there for what was surely a long offseason. Hopefully the Supporter's Terrace will be rocking tomorrow!

See you at the stadium!



QnA with Argentine Forward Claudio Lopez

The Rapids today signed Argentine forward and two-time World Cup veteran Claudio Lopez. He arrived from Buenos Aires, Argentina this morning and will be at the Rapids game on Saturday.

We've started the process of obtaining his work visa, and we're hopeful that he'll have it soon in order to officially add him to the roster. Ironically, should he be eligible, our next two games after Saturday's are against Kansas City - the team that Lopez played on the past two seasons.

After Lopez took his photos in Rapids' gear, we caught up with him for a quick interview. Below is a translated transcript of the QnA:

On the decision to stay in MLS and join the Rapids...

Claudio Lopez: “In reality I had the intentions of staying one more year, staying in MLS for little while longer. When things didn’t work out in Kansas City, I started looking at my options. The option of coming to Colorado was presented, but then it didn’t work out. So then some time passed, and fortunately the option of coming here was presented and I’m happy to have the chance to play one more year in MLS.”

So will this be your final year...

Lopez: “I’m taking it one year at a time because my age is not the same. Sometimes teams and coaches look for something else, so you have to treat it with patience and try to make things work out.

On adapting to a new team in a league that you are familiar with...

Lopez: “I’m already familiar with the league, and how the league functions. As for changing to a new team, it will take me a little bit of time to adapt to my new teammates, to adapt to the new work asked of by the coach. And from my position, I want to help as much as possible so that things go well for the team.”

On what you can bring to the team...

Lopez: “I try to bring the best I can. Try to, above all else, to help thing really go the way the club wants them to go. And if they don’t, to make the maximum effort to intend to do so. Then, as time goes on, we’ll be able to realize in what areas I could help out more or in what way we can support each other more so that the team gets the end results.

What can a veteran presence bring to a club...

Lopez: “Patience. Patience and above all, a desire to help. To be useful to the teammate next to you; in whatever is necessary at any moment for the club. I think that’s the primary thing.

How have you stayed prepared...

Lopez: “I have been training because I was waiting for another opportunity to be presented. Besides, one always wants to stay in shape, so I’ve been training on my own. I’m sure it will take me some time, but we’ll do it as fast as possible to be ready.

Thoughts on the altitude, if it affected you when you played here; and on the stadium...

Lopez: “No, not really. I think we lost one game, and tied one, one that we were winning. It’s a very nice stadium, very nice playing surface, it’s a nice atmosphere and so I hope to experience it like a local now.

What do you know about the team...

Lopez: “Some things change. The players don’t have the same seasons; they don’t often repeat the same seasons. I expect to find myself with a very good team; I know they have very good individuals, players; and so I hope that things go well for us.”


VIDEO: Gary Smith Previews the Home Opener

After Thursday's practice, we caught up with Rapids head coach Gary Smith to get his thoughts on the home opener and on facing the Chicago Fire. Click here to watch or play the video below.


PHOTOS: Behind the Scenes of Team Photo Day

The team took their annual team photo today on the stadium field at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. After the photo, the team went through their last workout - on the stadium field - before tomorrow's home opener vs. Chicago.

After the photo, Rapids Managing Director Jeff Plush brought the entire team together - that is, the office staff and the players and coaching staff - for a quick chat, recognizing the hard work of the group as a whole.

We're all excited to have started 2010 with a win last week, and are all looking forward to a great start at home on Saturday. We hope to see many of you there.


Promoting the Home Opener

Friday was Team Photo Day at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, followed by the team's first day training on the stadium field. It was also the final opportunity for media interviews before tomorrow's home opener.

With that, we wanted to take a minute to recognize the local media coverage, since it's been a positive week of attention. Now, we're not saying we're 'there' with regards to media coverage. However, we want to recognize the coverage and give Rapids fans that may have missed some of it, a little recap.
  • The Denver Post not only provided their readers a full page preview on the Rapids ahead of the season opener last week, today they have another large feature on newly acquired Marvell Wynne.
  • All of the local TV stations have been at practice this week and many of them last week; and many local radio DJs and other TV personalities have also touted the team's home opener on air.
  • Props to defender Drew Moor for being a studio guest on 9News at 6 am this morning -the day before the home opener - to promote the Rapids game tomorrow. As we watched him answer - in our League's 15th year - questions about the popularity of the sport, we wondered how many professional athletes in any sport would be as willing to help promote the team and sport as athletes like Drew and his colleagues are.
  • Coach Gary Smith was then a guest on ESPN Radio 1600, where he, too, was once again asked about the sports popularity. He also handled it like a pro and turned the interview into a discussion the media would have with any other head coach.
  • Earlier this week, in an effort to get other media engaged, the club put together Easter Baskets with Rapids goodies and personally dropped them off to many radio and TV talent in the area. Everyone likes goodies, and the media are no different. In turn, we got extra plugs about the home opener during morning rush, lunchtime, and drivetime radio as well as morning, afternoon, and evening news.
  • Among the radio drops were: KBCO 97.3, KTCL 93.3, KPPT - The Party 95.7, ALICE 105.9, KS 107.5, KOSI, KKFN 104.3, ESPN Radio 1600, and KOA 850.
  • Last but not least, let's not forget internet, with stories on searching for a forward, on Lopez, on Kosuke, and Pablo; or's practice updates and story on LaBauex; or's feature on Omar and Casey.
  • Finally, it always helps media when they know that people are seeing / reading their content. If you appreciate the coverage of the local media (even though we'd all like more), shoot them an email and let them know.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 1 - Photos from Practice

Enjoy some photos from Thursday's practice.
Above, Gary Smith brings the group in for a quick chat between drills. Marvell went back to Toronto following the season opener to gather his belongings. He arrived in Denver on Wednesday and today took part in his first training session with the team.

Kosuke and Drew work on one-on-ones drills... The training field is in great shape....
Can you tell who took this freekick that hit the left wall 'guy' square in the head? Colin takes on Danny in one-on-one drills...
At some point, we're going to test these two to find out who is faster: Omar or Marvell.
Omar, Mehdi, Drew...

Following practice, the guys had a lot of things to sign...the club uses these autographed pieces for various charity donations throughout the season.
The field crew painting the final lines on the stadium field.

Rapids to Face Kansas City in Open Cup Qualifier

While we prepare for our home opener on Saturday, details for the another match on the schedule have been confirmed.
The Rapids will play the Kansas City Wizards in a play-in match for qualification for America’s oldest sporting tournament - the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup - on Tuesday, April 13 at 8:30 p.m. MT at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The game comes three days after the two teams meet in Kansas City in an MLS regular season contest. Click here for more on the game.