The 2016 Colorado Rapids regular season kicks off in just over five weeks and although things are looking less than optimistic this season, it is fun to try and figure out what will be the best matches of the year. So without further adieu:
Monday, 4 July 2016--vs Portland Timbers (Dick's Sporting Goods Park)
To be the best you have to beat the best. And on this Monday night in Colorado, the Rapids will get the chance to knock off the reigning MLS Cup Champions. Portland will fancy their chances in Colorado as they have not lost at the Dick since March 2014 and will be full of confidence. For the Rapids, the 4th of July match is their highest attended match of the year and if they were ever going to make an impression on their fan base, this is the match to do it.
Saturday, 2 April 2016--vs Toronto FC (Dick's Sporting Goods Park)
This should have been just another match against the Eastern Conference, but since Drew Moor signed for Toronto FC and Clint Irwin was traded to the Reds, this one is a completely different animal. Toronto is a club on the ascendancy and the Rapids are doing their best to not get relegated in a league that does not feature relegation. The Rapids will want to win this one to prove that losing Moor and Irwin was a good thing and Moor and Irwin want to get one over on the Rapids.
Saturday, 30 July 2016--at New York City FC (Yankee Stadium)
The Rapids make their first ever trip to Yankee Stadium to take on the second year side that has a new coach (Patrick Vieira) and a star studded lineup that includes Frank Lampard, David Villa and Andrea Pirlo. This will be a hell of a test for the Rapids and it will be fun to see them playing on the baseball pitch at Yankee Stadium
Saturday, 9 April 2016--at Real Salt Lake (Rio Tinto Stadium)
The Rapids and RSL tangle three times in the MLS regular season in 2016 and two of those matches are along the Wasatch Front. Obviously, every match against RSL is a big one and with the Rocky Mountain Cup on the line, this one may be the most important. Why?
The Rapids play AT Real Salt Lake on the 9 April and 26 August
They Rapids play AT Dick's Sporting Goods Park on 7 May
That means they really, really, really need to try and win one of the two matches at Rio Tinto. And if you are going to win one there, you should try and do it at the first of asking. Since the Rapids are the current Cup holders they get a slight advantage if things end in a tie on points and goal differential. But winning in April in Rio Tinto would mean the Rapids could potentially put this thing to bed by early May.
Saturday 23 July 2016--vs FC Dallas (Dick's Sporting Goods Park)
The Rapids play FC Dallas twice in 2016 and although the Rapids had a surprising level of success in 2015 against the Hoops, this match will be a tough one. FC Dallas has made a number of moves to strengthen a squad that made it to the Western Conference Finals. While the Rapids have not done much to strengthen their squad this off-season, this is an important match as it represents everything the Rapids were in 2013 and what they are not in 2016.