This is the 11th part of a series in which we introduce Orlando City fans to the teams our Lions will be facing in 2015 when the team starts play in Major League Soccer. Today we take a look at the Colorado Rapids.
What are the three most important things Orlando City fans need to know about the Rapids?
Chris White: There are no things to know about the Rapids. They are an enigma, managing to be at a perfect balance of mediocrity since the league founded. If you told me that the Rapids had a perfect .500 record all time, I’d totally believe you. So that’s one thing, that the Rapids are probably the most boring team in MLS history. Not in terms of the soccer they play, but in terms of their stature in the league’s history. They’re never good, they’re never bad. If paint could play soccer when it was drying, it’d probably look like the Rapids. A second thing to know is that, despite being a team that is struggling in 2014, they have lots of young, exciting talent. Deshorn Brown, Dillon Powers and Shane O’Neill are all superstars in the making, and the Rapids have built their team around those young studs. Uh, third up is that our coach is U.S. Men’s National Team legend Pablo Mastroeni, which is pretty damn cool.
What nicknames, chants and slang are unique to Colorado, and can you please explain them if they aren’t readily apparent to the outsider?
CW: More than any other MLS team, we take pride in the state we’re from, here in Colorado. Moreso than Rapids flags, you’ll see Colorado flags waving in the stands at DSGP, and a second kit, which is colored like the Colorado flag—and both shirts have the emblematic “C” of the flag embedded into them, which is pretty neat. Even the team’s supporters group gets in on the action, being called Centennial 38 (named such because Colorado was the 38th state and introduced in 1876). Our signature chant is “Mountain Roads,” a play on “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver that we totally didn’t steal from the University of West Virginia. We also have a lovely chant that involves screaming ‘Dicks’ (like our stadium) over and over! Oh, and some fans call the team the Pids, which I think is fairly self-explanatory.
What are the can’t-miss things to do when Orlando City fans visit a Colorado Rapids game?
CW: Away fans (as long as you aren’t RSL) are encouraged to join our Supporters’ Buses to and from the stadium from our slew of soccer bars around Denver, taking you to one of the best tailgates in MLS. The British Bulldog is the oldest guard in that regard, and my personal favorite bar in the city. If you’re in the mood for breakfast and EPL soccer at 5:45 a.m. on a Saturday, they’ll be open. Past that, there are all sorts of other wonderful eateries and bars around. Wander LoDo to get your fill of any of our state’s hundreds of craft beers, check out a restaurant (I love recommending Beau Jo’s for ‘Colorado Style’ pizza), or go on one of the many alcohol-related tours around the area. (If that’s your thing, I’d recommend Stranahan’s. It’s Colorado’s own craft whiskey!)
Who are the key players on the Rapids that we should know about?
CW: Vicente Sanchez is the best player on the team, and it isn’t even close. The wily old wizard and Mexican league legend has been around for a long time and has a touch that you rarely see in MLS, especially for a guy who isn’t a designated player. Past him, the core of the team is made up of youngsters. Deshorn Brown is chaos incarnate on a soccer pitch, Dillon Powers is quickly turning into one of the USA’s best young attacking midfielders, and Shane O’Neill is a rock in the back alongside Drew Moor, one of the most underrated defenders in MLS history.
Which Colorado players do you think might get exposed in the upcoming MLS Expansion Draft?
CW: Marvell Wynne. Please, take him. We’ll pay you.
Huge thanks to Chris for helping us learn a little bit about the Colorado Rapids today. But now we’ve got that John Denver song stuck in our heads.
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