Burgundy Nation came unhinged at around 7:00 pm on March 12th! In case any of you in Colorado heard something on the Richter scale coming from North Denver--you have the Colorado Rapids fandom to blame! You're welcome.
What a great time I had at Dick's Sporting Goods Park--and I could have said that even without Marco Pappa's perfect postage stamp. Pappa's goal put us all over the edge!
Folks arrived early in line for the gates to open at 4:00 pm. A few hiccups took place in getting the ticket readers to work, but who cares--the home opener was here. We hadn't set foot at DSGP since October. We secured our three XL Doyle Rules shirts (which came in handy when that wind came a-blowin'), then picked up my old school Rapids warm-up kit, my boys and I sat down in our old familiar spot: Section 121, back row.
We love it--close to the snack bar, close to the bathrooms, and so close to the trashcans that I can throw away our junk without having to go through the struggle to stand up. Plus, they fixed 'our' Section 121 sign. No more cracks--now, it's new and pristine, just like this season!
(Speaking of the snack bar, I'd like to commend the snack bar by Section 121. My boys' nachos slipped out of his lap--happens to all of us--and they allowed him to get a new bowl of nachos. Thanks, Snack Bar Peeps!)
I confess, we were disappointed that Marlon Hairston wasn't playing (tweak in his hammy, I believe), for we are big fans of his due to his playing for the University of Louisville. But seeing the guys stretch and skip and stretch and lunge--this is what I've waited for since the Super Bowl ended.
Unlike some (I'm looking at you, Bruce Arena and company), I thought the Rapids played quite well. I'm not the guy on the Burgundy Wave to break down tactics and positioning--we have far, far more capable people to do this. But let me share one statistic that is astounding: The Galaxy had one shot on target all game. That's a stout defense. The offense came toward the south end of the stadium, so we were able to see everything up close.
My job is to dig into the burgundy psyche of our incredible fandom. When Pappa scored that goal in the 95' it unleashed about 2 1/2 years of frustration! The place exploded unlike any other time I've been there in the last three years. You see, the fans knew the Rapids deserved that win. Arena griped that the referees gave too much stoppage time. I don't think so. But even so, isn't one of the fundamental lessons you learn on any level of sports is to play to the whistle? And the Rapids did just that. They had a truckload of chances in the first part of the first half, and all the second half. When you continue to put that amount of pressure on a team, good things will happen.
I leave you with just a few takeaways from the game:
- Centennial 38, that tifo was exquisite. My boys and I were watching you all work on it from afar two Saturdays ago. That is painstaking, intricate work that was well worth it. Kudos!
- Mikeil Williams is a stud on defense, giving Gyasi Zardes problems all night. And as one who has gone on missions trips to Trinidad & Tobago ten times or so, I love seeing a Soca Warrior bring it.
- Shrekzen Gashi will get used to how things are in MLS, and will explode offensively.
- Zac MacMath's performances will make us miss Clint Irwin less and less on the pitch.
- I loved seeing Kevin Doyle not back down. Don't mess with an Irishman on St. Patrick's Day weekend.