Posts Tagged ‘ Colorado Rapids ’

Denver

I helped organize a trip to the Mile High City to see Atlanta United take on the Colorado Rapids in September, 2018, and we had an awesome time.

We flew out late on a Thursday night for a Saturday match. I can’t remember why but I’m sure it was financially motivated. Our flight got in around 11pm local time so not ideal. And be aware that the airport is miles from downtown. You can use the Denver Transit system or pony up for a pricey rideshare.

Brewery Tour

Friday was spent touring several breweries in downtown Denver. ATL UTD fan, beer connoisseur and friend Jason Wells worked with local beer geeks to come up with an amazing tour.

great divide

These are the breweries we hit:

  • Black Shirt Brewing
  • Great Divide Barrel Bar
  • Mockery Brewing
  • Bierstadt Lagerhaus
  • Odell Brewing Company
  • Ratio Beerworks
  • Our Mutual Friend

The first three are grouped together so we knocked those out, and then we all piled into a couple of cars to continue at Bierstadt Lagerhaus. ADVICE: One beer, one water. Due to the altitude, you will get wrecked if you try a bunch of beers at each location and don’t stay hydrated. Several of the venues have food and I would recommend a pretzel and a beer at Bierstadt Lagerhaus.

ignite

We finished the evening on the rooftop of Ignite for a group dinner. Great view of the city and some decent food.

Match Day

beer bus

We asked Rapids’ Supporters Group Centennial 38 (C38) if we could ride with them on their Supporters Bus, and they graciously said yes. Buses go around the city, pick up fans at local bars and then drop off at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The buses are waiting for you after the game to take you back to the bars. Bonus: you get beers to and from the stadium!! For $10 this is a fantastic deal. 

We tailgated with C38 and they had several different beers and some delicious food available. Again, a small donation and totally worth it.

DSGP 2

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park is a very functional park, similar to those in Chicago (RIP) and Columbus (soon to be RIP). Our match was a 1:30pm kickoff local time and, with temperatures above 90 degrees and no clouds, it was as if were standing on the surface of the sun. So if a) you’re in in the corners if DSGP or in the C38 Supporters Section behind the goal and b) it’s a hot day, then hydrate and bring a lot of sunscreen.

The team website has everything you need for tickets and the stadium. Note: they have a free, guided tour if you have some extra time and want to check it out. Click here for information. 

Check out Centennial 38’s site for info on the Supporters Bus, tailgate and more.

After the match we headed back downtown for some food and drinks. Society Sports and Spirits is home to several alumni groups and sports teams and they were very accommodating. Another option we found was the Skyline Beer Garden.   

Sunday Funday

On Sunday we had brunch at the Fainting Goat, which is an Atlanta Falcons Bar in Denver. I’m not a big Falcons fan but watching it with a bunch of people and drinking $2 mimosas was a win! After that we hit a couple of more breweries: TRVE Brewing Co. and Baere Brewing.

Trve describes themselves as Denver’s True Heavy Metal Brewery. They are not kidding!! Baere was much more my vibe and had some really helpful staff.

The next day it was back to Atlanta.

 

Stuff to do

I went to Denver to watch soccer and drink beer. Done and done. But if you want to get out and about, here are some options:

Visit Denver put together a comprehensive guide of things to do.

 

Getting around

We walked and used rideshares. Here’s a link to the Denver transit system.

 

Local Teams

If you’re interested in seeing other teams, there are a couple of options.

Colorado Springs Switchbacks play in the USL Championship. It’s about an hour and fifteen minute drive south of Denver.

Colorado is also home to the Colorado Premier League. Lots of teams around the state so there’s a chance to sneak in an amateur game at some point.

Check out other teams in the area here.

Let me know if you have any questions. Here to help. Comment below or email me at austinlong1974@gmail.com.

Top Ten Posts of 2014

top 10

2014 was a great year for the SoccerNomad blog.  Visitors from all over the world read about kits, memories and more.  Here are the ten most read posts from 2014. Thanks to everyone for visiting, sharing and commenting on the blog and it’s on to 2015.

10   1988/89 English First Division

9     Trip to FC Dallas Game

8     From my Year in Soccer 1974 Series, Johan Cruyff’s impact at FC Barcelona

7     Memorial Day Weekend in Detroit

6     Lansing Kit Nerd (September 2014)

5     World Cup 2014 Kit Preview Part 1

4     Germany Euro 2000 Away shirt

3     2014/15 Kit Preview

2     World Cup 2014 Kit Preview Part 2

1     Going Hollywood (Soccer Player Look-a-likes)

Thanks to everyone for visiting, sharing and commenting on the blog and it’s on to 2015.  Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974 and don’t forget to visit my podcast or subscribe via iTunes.

Texas Adventure

All 5 parts of my wonderful, frustrating, sleep deprived trip to Houston and Dallas.

houston dynamo game

Day 1

Day 2 (Houston Dynamo v Sporting KC)

Day 3 (FC Dallas v Colorado Rapids)

Day 4

Day 5

MatchDay Memory–Texas Adventure Day 3 (FC Dallas v Colorado Rapids)

On day 3, I woke up, did some work on my blog, and checked twitter, facebook and email before grabbing a quick bite to eat and then headed to the Greyhound Station.  Because I was unfamiliar with the process, I went to the station early.  No need but got insight into a very disorganized environment.  I caught up on some podcasts and was mildly distracted by the Ann B. Davis Brady Bunch Marathon on TV Land.

The attendant called for the Dallas and there was a mad rush.  Confusion ensued as he told us to get in order from 1 to 40.  While he was trying to herd cats, other customers were asking him about which bus this was, where they needed to be and everything else.  Did not envy him.  We lined up for the bus, already 15 minutes late and pulled out of the station 45 minutes past the proposed departure time.  This of course created anxiety for me because I had to be at the British Beverage Company by 5:15 to catch the FCD Express.  If we only arrived 45 minutes late, I figured I would be ok.

Prepping for the game, I noticed that Dallas was driving the struggle bus heading into this fixture, winless in their last five, managing only two points in that time.  FCD was hanging on to the last playoff spot in the West but had played several more games than San Jose and LA who were right behind them.

When reviewing the roster, I did a double take when I saw the name Adam Moffat.  I saw him play for the Dynamo last year and knew that he was signed by Seattle at the end of the last season in the Sounders’ push for the playoffs.  Turns out he has played for Columbus, Portland, Houston, Seattle and now Dallas.  (Suspended for this match.)

The Rapids entered the game with goals to spare, scoring seven in their last two.  After a draw and two losses, these two wins saw Colorado climb to third in the Western Conference.  I recognized the names Marvell Wynne and Edson Buddle on the Colorado roster but not too many others.  Surprised that more players didn’t stick with me after seeing them in Seattle a couple of years ago.

I didn’t come across any players from either team being picked for the World Cup or any injury news, but one piece of news from the website grabbed my attention.  Colorado signed John Neeskens, who is the son of Dutch great Johan Neeskens.  The younger Neeskens made his MLS debut recently and I was hoping to see him play.  (Didn’t make the bench.)

Back to my bus stress. . .

After our one stop mid-trip I realized I was in trouble.   About 30 minutes outside Dallas I tweeted the FCD account letting them know about my situation.  They responded right away and I told them it would be close.  Then we hit traffic once in the city.  I was fidgeting and trying to figure out how much a cab from Dallas to Frisco would be.  The answer: a helluva lot.

In the end, the bus arrived in Dallas one hour late. So I jumped off the bus, ran the couple of blocks, checked into the hotel, changed clothes (had to rep Mid-Michigan shirt), and called for a cab. The driver zipped through town to the bar and arrived with just minutes to spare. I got my ticket from the FCD representative, slammed an Estrella Damm, got frustrated watching the USMNT for five minutes and hopped on the bus. Success.

The FCD Express not as dynamic as Chicago Party Bus, but I was decompressing so who can say?  Things picked up when the guys next to me streamed the Belmont Stakes.  Another year, another year without a Triple Crown winner.

Our bus was parked out in the boonies so I just headed into the stadium to grab a beer and taco and watch the end of the US game.  I managed to see the Nigeria PK and settled in for the Dallas/Colorado game.

MATCH NOTES

Toyota Stadium is nothing special but the complex is a little city unto itself with apartments and restaurants and medical facilities and tons of soccer fields.  The stands are not covered which I found odd.  Later I talked to a fan and he said it isn’t that big of a deal because most games are at night and you only have to put up with the sun for an hour.  They did have four covered sections, one in each corner which I learned were for sponsors.

I picked up my scarf and headed down to the Beer Garden, which was an excellent choice because my assigned seat was directly in the sun.  The beer was cheap (and easily accessible) and it was in the shade and I was right behind the goal, so I was in a great spot.

IMAG0036

Just before the game started, the club designates someone to put a scarf on a statue of Lamar Hunt, one of main contributors in the history of American soccer.  This is a really nice touch, reminding everyone of Hunt’s legacy and remembering where you came from and where you’re going.

This was my first MLS trip where I did not know anyone, so it took me awhile to settle in.  I had been trading messages with the Dallas Beer Guardians so just watched them to see what happened.  What support.  The section has the FC Drum Corps and between them and capos, there was tons of noise.  Some really good chants helped energize the team and the crowd.  A couple of Colorado fans sat in the Beer Guardian section, which was particularly brave.

IMAG0038

The game was pretty and open and entertaining.  FCD took the game to the Rapids but lacked cutting edge in the final third.  The Rapids soaked up the pressure and Dallas was vulnerable to the counter attack and were eventually punished with a very creative finish from Brown.  The hosts responded when Benitez scored a free kick that took a slight deflection to equalize.  FCD took the lead off another deflected goal. Castillo dribbled at the Colorado rearguard and the ball came back out to Loyd and his low hard shot was deflected, with the goalkeeper not able to keep it out.

Early in the second half, Jose Mari scored from a great header to equalize.  Again FCD asked most of the questions.  Shortly after the equalizer, Colorado subbed in Hairston and it was his poor giveaway in midfield that allowed Castillo to pick up the ball.  His surging run was capped off by a fine finish for the winner.

In the second half, I met a couple that went to the University of Michigan and chatted with them for a minute.  They provided me some of the details about the players and the stadium.  FCD fans were happy with the result, which will hopefully get the club off the slide.  I really enjoyed FCD’s attack, especially the wide players (Castillo and Escobar) but felt that Perez was too isolated in second half. Still can’t get used to these royal blue Colorado kits as I remember the Rapids in green and black at the beginning of the league and then their switch to silver and maroon.

IMAG0040

MLS recap with video highlights

The post game ride home was a blast.  We had the bus driver pull over at a gas station and one guy jumped out and bought a case for the bus.  Once we had our post game refreshment, we settled in for the ride back.  I was invited to play a drinking game which had something to do with the number seven.  Details are fuzzy to say the least.  Then we played “Categories”??  Anyway time flew by and we were back at the bar.  Quick walk through downtown Dallas got me back to the hotel and off to bed.

Old Futbol Buffet–We are the Blue, We are the Green

Before my first Seattle Sounders game, we met some of the Emerald City Supporters at Fuel. While drinking a point of Emerald City Amber, we were able to watch some fan videos on the big screen that showcased the passion and excitement of the fans. I also got a chance to meet ECS Co-President Greg Mockos (fellow Juventino). In the June ECS newsletter, Greg revisited the transition of the supporters from the USL to the MLS. Very informative and a great insight into the formation of major soccer support. After that we headed over to the park for the march to the field, which was pretty cool, as hundreds of fans sang and cheered in unison to CenturyLink Field, or as the ECS would say Royal Brougham Park. The stadium is amazing, with clean sight lines plus a stunning view of downtown above the northern end.

At the stadium, Greg hooked us up and got my cousin and me into the ECS section at the Brougham End (our original tickets were at the opposite part of the complex) and the supporters provide song cards to new fans so that they can fully participate in the experience. Simple but awesome idea. Before kickoff they unveiled a special tifo for Zach Morris Scott, who has played for the club for 10 years. Worth checking out. During the match, several different flags made an appearance, along with all kinds of scarves. I really liked the argyle version of the Brougham End as well as the alternating black and green scarf for 2012 season ticket holders. Finally a special shoutout to the “cheerleader” for our section. The guy never stopped cheering, encouraging and motivating. Really cool experience.

Seattle started the match quickly, with crisp passing and active movement. Rosales was a withdrawn forward and constantly found dangerous space. Osvaldo Alonso (#6) ran his socks off and had a great game. Along with Andy Rose (#25), I thought these two were a great paring, creating a solid foundation for the Sounders, breaking up the opposition and starting attacks. Unfortunately the Sounders’ finishing was poor and they did not take advantage of numerous chances. As Arlo White (@ArloWhite) tweeted during the match: Enjoyable half. #sounders dominated early. Colorado working way into game. Casey a constant threat. Its intense. With both teams in some sort of variation of a 4-5-1 (mlssoccer.com had the Rapids in a 4-1-4-1), the game became a midfield slugfest.

Midfielder Alvaro Fernandez turned the tide of the match in the second half, heading in a Rosales corner. From there Seattle upped the pressure and were rewarded soon after. There was a possible penalty decision as Johnson was taken down in the box. The incident happened right in front of us in the Brougham End and it was a tight call, but Johnson made absolutely sure on his next chance, as Rosales whipped in another fantastic ball for the American to head home after a breakdown in the Colorado transition. Fernandez then had a chance to make it 3-0 but took too long and allowed a Rapids defender to recover.

With about ten minutes to go, Colorado scored a very tidy goal (Zapata to Cummings) to set up a crazy and exciting finish. First, Steve Zakuani returned to action after his injury last year. The crowd went absolutely nuts on his entrance into the match. Then the Rapids had a possible equalizer ruled out for offside before Rivero fired just over the crossbar when he had the goal at this mercy.

Seattle got three vital points and are now third in the Western Conference, with Colorado falling back into the pack in the bottom half of the table. Full highlights and game report here.

What a week. Two entertaining games, two memorable fan experiences. Back to work (and sweltering hot temperatures) but full of excitement and memories.