|No, this is not a Chuck Norris style list. I thought it was time to shine some light on everyone's least familiar MLS team and see what they're up to. Read ahead for the (mostly negative) info:|
1) The Colorado Rapids can become the first team in MLS history to have their average attendance decrease for a fourth straight season. They're on pace to get that record:
2) If the Rapids win the MLS Cup, they will be the first team to do so coming from a state whose two Senators are from different political parties (Allard-R, Salazar-D). How's THAT for an obscure stat?
3) The most goals scored in a season by a Rapids player (MLS regular season only) is 14 by John Spencer, in both 2001 and 2003. This is the lowest total of any MLS team, save the three newcomers (CHV, HOU, RSL). Incidentally the three highest goalscorers this season are from those three teams.
So it looks like they'll be dead last again after the year is over. The Rapids leading goalscorers currently are Nicolas Hernandez and Jovan Kirovski with 5 apiece. I really thought that this record would be broken last season, but Jeff Cunningham only scored once in his last 11 games, finishing with 12 goals.
4) After winning their first two road playoff games in 1997, the Rapids have not won in any of the 11 since. This includes the 2002 "series OT" win (@ DAL), and the win on penalties last year (@ DAL). Games that end in penalties are considered draws, and technically the "series OT" was not part of the third game. MLSnet actually agrees with me for once on that one.
5) The Rapids are probably the worst drafting team in league history...that is, when they haven't traded away their picks. Just look at the history of their first round selections:
1997-Tahj Jakins (#1 overall)
2000-Adin Brown, Wes Hart, Alan Woods
Only eight picks in 11 years (counting the college draft only, for those early years). Combined, those eight players have only played 189 games for the club. Gentile and Mittendorf never even played for them.
6) It does appear that things are turning around under Fernando Clavijo after the long, mediocre run of Tim Hankinson. He's revamped the club, and they're having a good season. Who knows if they're actually title contenders, but he's taking chances and I love to see that in a parity-filled league like MLS. His contract was just extended.
7) Plus, they do have a brand new stadium opening next year. Commerce City is the closest of any of the MLS suburbs, only 6.8 miles away. There have also been rumors of a re-branding. If they're gonna go it, it's then or never. At the very least, bring back the green!
8) Everyone knows about Phillip Anschutz and Lamar Hunt. But how many people really know anything about Rapids owner Stan Kroenke, other than the Walmart connection? Lucky for you, there was a great article about him back in June. It's a must read, and he does seem to be very similar to Anschutz, for better or worse. He certainly had no trouble getting a stadium deal, which is amazing considering how other MLS teams have gone about it.
9) In addition to the draft picks, the Rapids also have a history of not getting quality out of their foreign acquisitions. Spencer was good, so were Andres Limpar and Wolde Harris. Then there's Daryl Powell, Gilles Grimandi, Daniel Amokachi;it goes on and on. At least the current group of SI's seems to be pretty good (Cooke, Dedi, Karanka, Hernandez).
10) Let's end on a positive note. Among current teams, the Rapids have the second longest streak of making the playoffs at four years (tied with NE).