• Richard Fleming

Colorado Rapids' history on 4th July, 1996-2021

1996 (W 2-1 vs. New York/New Jersey MetroStars): The MetroStars visited Mile High Stadium in the inaugural Independence Day match and took the lead in the 58th minute on a goal from Tab Ramos. However, MetroStars defender Nicola Caricola put one in his own net for an own goal just 10 minutes later to tie the game. Colorado defender and team captain Steve Trittschuh then got on the end of a Shaun Bartlett pass in the 83rd minute to give the Rapids the 2-1 victory. Rapids lineup: Chris Wood, Ian Butterworth, Denis Hamlett, Matt Kmosko, Steve Trittschuh, Dominic Kinnear, Chris Henderson (Scott Cannon 82'), Scott Benedetti, Shaun Bartlett, Jean Harbor (Felipe Rodriguez 88'), Roy Wegerle. 1997 (W 3-1 vs. San Jose Clash): San Jose came into Mile High Stadium and jumped on the hosts by taking a 1-0 lead after only five minutes when Ronald Cerritos got on the end of an Eddie Lewis cross. This time the Rapids didn't wait until the final 10 minutes, as goals from Peter Vermes (19') and two from Paul Bravo (58' and 68') allowed the team to coast to the 3-1 win in front of 36,252 fans. Rapids lineup: Marcus Hahnemann, Matt Kmosko, Steve Trittschuh, Peter Vermes, Marcelo Balboa, Sean Henderson, Chris Henderson, Adrian Paz (Wolde Harris 46'), Ross Paule (Tote Castaneda 61'), David Patino (Steve Rammell 82'), Paul Bravo. 1998 (W 1-0 vs. MetroStars): The MetroStars were once again the visitors, and once again went home without points. Colorado's Marquis White, who had just replaced Wolde Harris in the 70th minute, took advantage of a MetroStars miscue to put the Rapids up 1-0 just three minutes after coming on. MetroStars defender Alexi Lalas, who along with teammate Tab Ramos and Rapids defender Marcelo Balboa, had just returned to their teams following the U.S.'s elimination from the World Cup in France, tried to chest-trap a ball in his own six-yard box, but the ball bounced away and White was there to knock it in. The Rapids held on for the 1-0 win in front of 46,722, at the time the highest-ever attendance for a soccer match in Colorado. Rapids lineup: Marcus Hahnemann, Sean Henderson, Peter Vermes, Steve Trittschuh, Chris Martinez, Tahj Jakins (Marcelo Balboa 55'), Adrian Paz, Ross Paule (Joey DiGiamarino 80'), Wolde Harris (Marquis White 70'), Paul Bravo. 1999 (L 3-0 vs. Columbus Crew): The Columbus Crew became the first team to defeat the Rapids on Independence Day when they came into Mile High Stadium and left with a 3-0 victory in front of a new record-crowd of 51,025. Mike Lapper scored after eight minutes and Stern John put the game away with one-v-one goals in the 66th and 80th minutes. It was the Rapids' first home loss of the season and ended a six-game home winning streak. Rapids lineup: Ian Feuer, Jason Bent, Marcelo Balboa, David Vaudreuil (Joey DiGiamarino 74'), Peter Vermes, Matt McKeon, Anders Limpar (Darren Sawatski 82'), Ross Paule, Paul Bravo, Jorge Dely Valdez, Wolde Harris (Marquis White 79').

2000 (W 2-1 vs. Chicago Fire): In the most dramatic ending to a 4th of July match to this point, the Rapids came from behind with two late goals to defeat the Chicago Fire 2-1 in overtime in front another record crowd, this time 53,126. Chicago's Andre Lewis put the visitors ahead right before the half. With one minute left in the game, Matt Okoh and Junior Agogo combined quick passes to set up Anders Limpar who ripped a shot from 15 yards off the right post to tie the match. At the time, two 5-minute overtime periods were played. Three minutes into the second extra time period, Limpar crossed to Marcelo Balboa who, with the ball bouncing back off of Okoh, fired into the back of the net for the win. Rapids lineup: David Kramer, Marcelo Balboa, Chris Martinez, Lance Key, David Vaudreuil (Matt Okoh 73'), Jason Bent, Scott Vermillion, Paul Dougherty (Jorge Dely Valdez 83'), Anders Limpar, Paul Bravo (Ross Paule 95'), Junior Agogo. 2001 (W 3-1 vs. D.C. United): A new Rapids milestone was set as John Spencer became the first Colorado Rapids player to record a hat-trick as the Rapids defeated D.C. United 3-1, much to the delight of the 60,500.

Wearing a unique red jersey in observance of Independence Day, the Rapids did not waste any time, as Spencer scored after just 48 seconds. D.C's Jaime Moreno tied the match in the 56th, but Spencer restored the Rapids' lead three minutes later when he ricocheted a shot off the left post and into the net. The Scotsman put the game away and sealed his first career hat-trick when he first-timed another shot off the left post in the 81st minute. Rapids lineup: Scott Garlick, Ritchie Kotschau, Chris Martinez, Robin Fraser, Chris Dawes, Marcelo Balboa, Jason Moore (Imad Baba 78’), Carlos Valderrama, Paul Bravo (Ross Paule 46’), Raul Diaz Arce (Chris Carrieri 58’), John Spencer. 2002 (W 3-2 vs. Chicago Fire): For the fifth time in seven July 4th games, the visitors took the lead as the Chicago Fire's Ante Razov scored just nine minutes in. Trailing 1-0 at the half, Rapids coach Tim Hankinson replaced defender Jeff Stewart with Chris Carrieri to begin the second half, and the young forward gave his coach, and the all-time record crowd of 61,213, a performance of a lifetime. Carrieri tied the game in the 57th when he finished a give-and-go with Mark Chung, but Chicago regained the lead again when former Rapids midfielder Jason Moore scored in the 69th. The stage was set for another dramatic ending. In the 82nd minute, Carrieri evened the match with a cross-goal shot that hit the side net. He recorded the second hat-trick in club history - both on July 4 - when he finished another Chung pass in the 87th to clinch the Rapids' 3-2 victory. Rapids lineup: David Kramer, Ritchie Kotschau (Zach Kingsley 74’), Jeff Stewart (Chris Carrieri 46’), Robin Fraser, Wes Hart, Mark Chung, Chris Henderson, Kyle Beckerman (Raul Palacios 57’), Carlos Valderrama, John Spencer. 2003 (W 3-2 vs. Kansas City Wizards): By this time, fans were used to two facts on the annual July 4th game. The opposing team usually scored first, and the Rapids usually scored late to win the game. Preki gave visiting Kansas City the lead in the 23rd minute, but John Spencer's penalty kick just before the halftime whistle evened the match. With more than 60,000 fans cheering the team on, Mark Chung scored in the 77th, and it all but looked like the Rapids had the win. However, Kansas City's Steven Armstrong's cross in the 91st minute was misread by Rapids goalkeeper Scott Garlick and the game was suddenly tied. And, before the crowd had a chance to grasp what had happened, Chung brought them into hysteria less than a minute later as he scored his second of the game in the 92nd to give the Rapids the 3-2 win. Rapids lineup: Scott Garlick, Wes Hart, Nat Borchers, Robin Fraser, Ritchie Kotschau, Zach Kingsley (Chris Henderson 46’), Pablo Mastroeni, Seth Trembly (Kyle Beckerman 80’), Mark Chung, Chris Carrieri, John Spencer. 2004 (W 1-0 vs. New England Revolution): In only his third game, Cuban Alberto Delgado scored his first, and only, MLS goal in the 74th minute to give the host Rapids a 1-0 win over the New England Revolution, watched by 41,979 at Invesco Field. The win extended the Rapids 4th of July record to 8-1, with six of those victories coming off goals scored with less than 20 minutes to play. Rapids lineup: Joe Cannon, Nat Borchers, Antonio de la Torre, Ritchie Kotschau, Pablo Mastroeni, Kyle Beckerman (Seth Trembly 74’), Jordan Cila (Daryl Powell 60’), Matt Crawford, Chris Henderson, John Spencer, Alberto Delgado (Gary Sullivan 86’). 2005 (W 2-1 vs. Kansas City Wizards): Once again, the visitors scored first when Kansas City's Chris Klein put away a Ryan Pore pass just five minutes into the match. And once again, the Rapids came back to win, this time playing with 10 men after forward Jean Philippe Peguero was sent off in the 40th minute. Alain Nkong tied the game with a goal in the 57th, and substitute Terry Cooke scored his first MLS goal just four minutes later off a freekick, to give the Rapids the 2-1 lead they would not relinquish. Rapids lineup: Joe Cannon, Nat Borchers, Ritchie Kotschau, Ricky Lewis (Terry Cooke 46’), Mike Petke, Leo Cullen, Eric Denton, Luchi Gonzalez (Kyle Beckerman 46’), Alain Nkong (Dan Gargan 83’), Jeff Cunningham, Jean Philippe Peguero. 2006 (W 3-2 vs. New England Revolution): A new element was introduced to the annual celebration, as lightening caused the game between the Rapids and New England Revolution to be delayed by almost an hour. The Rapids' Nicolás Hernández headed in a Terry Cooke corner kick after 13 minutes. Moments later, the teams were sent to the locker room as lightening caused a 50-minute delay. When they returned, the Revs' Clint Dempsey tied the game in the 26th. And, a minute into stoppage time, Hernández sprung Kyle Beckerman on a one-v-one and the midfielder converted to give the Rapids the 2-1 halftime lead. Hernandez sealed the game with his second of the night in the 69th minute. New England's Taylor Twellman got one back in second half stoppage time, but the Rapids held on for the 3-2 win. Rapids lineup: Joe Cannon, Hunter Freeman, Aitor Karanka, Mike Petke, Kyle Beckerman, Dedi Ben Dayan (Jacob Peterson 65’), Terry Cooke (Dan Gargan 89’), Eric Denton, Pablo Mastroeni, Nicolás Hernández (Clint Mathis 78’), Jovan Kirovski. 2007 (D 0-0 vs. Columbus Crew): In the first July 4th contest at the new Dick's Sporting Goods Park, a new first was experienced - a scoreless match. Missing several players that were with the U.S. national team and with Conor Casey injured, the Rapids and the Columbus Crew settled for a 0-0 tie. Rapids' captain Pablo Mastroeni had just ended his run at the Gold Cup and was unavailable, and Kyle Beckerman and Herculez Gomez had joined the other U.S. team that was heading to the Copa America. Perhaps more memorable was the birth of Edson the Mascot. Rapids lineup: Bouna Coundoul, Facundo Erpen, Dan Gargan, Ugo Ihemelu, Brandon Prideaux, Colin Clark (Omar Cummings 81’), Terry Cooke (Nico Colaluca 73’), Jovan Kirovski, Daniel Wasson, Nicolas Hernandez, Jacob Peterson. 2008 (W 4-0 vs. New York Red Bulls): After a disappointing first 4th at the new park, the Rapids broke out the fireworks early, defeating the visiting New York Red Bulls 4-0 with two goals in each half. Tom McManus put the Rapids up 1-0 in the 24th when he got on the end of a Colin Clark cross. Mehdi Ballouchy made it 2-0 in the 37th when he finished a Terry Cooke pass at the near post. Clark extended the lead just after the break with a tough-angled shot, and Omar Cummings finished easily after getting behind the defense in the 68th. Rapids lineup: Bouna Coundoul, Facundo Erpen, Ugo Ihemelu, Pablo Mastroeni, Mehdi Ballouchy, Colin Clark, Terry Cooke, Christian Gomez (John DiRaimondo 52’), Nick LaBrocca, Conor Casey (Omar Cummings 46’), Tom McManus (Herculez Gomez 72’). 2009 (L 2-1 vs. Chicago Fire): For only the second time in 13 years, the Rapids lost on the 4th of July. Chicago's Marco Pappa (30’) and Wilman Conde (38’) gave the Fire a 2-0 lead, and although Jacob Peterson got one back for the Rapids in the 76th, the visitors held on for the 2-1 victory, ending the Rapids six game undefeated home run to start the season. Rapids lineup: Matt Pickens, Cory Gibbs, Jordan Harvey, Ugo Ihemelu, Mehdi Ballouchy, Terry Cooke, Kosuke Kimura (Ross Schunk 89’), Pablo Mastroeni, Nick LaBrocca (Greg Dalby 84’), Pat Noonan (Jacob Peterson 46’), Conor Casey. 2010 (D 1-1 vs. New York Red Bulls): The Rapids and the New York Red Bulls tied 1-1 in a match that many will remember for the downpour of rain and swirling winds. Omar Cummings gave the Rapids the lead in the 15th minute, but New York's Juan Pablo Angel equalized in the 34th. Although the Rapids created the better chances, the finishing was awry, and the teams settled for the Rapids second-ever July 4th draw. Rapids lineup: Matt Pickens, Danny Earls, Drew Moor, Scott Palguta (Kosuke Kimura 54’), Marvell Wynne, Pablo Mastroeni (Wells Thompson 77’), Jeff Larentowicz, Jamie Smith (Colin Clark 65’), Omar Cummings, Conor Casey. July 3, 2011 (D 0-0 vs. Houston Dynamo): As defending MLS Cup champions the Rapids played out a frustrating goalless draw with the visiting Houston Dynamo. The Rapids had the bulk of possession and clear-cut chances but never really got their game going. That was in large part thanks to Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall, who had a man of the match performance for the struggling Dynamo. Hall produced six saves on the night, many of the spectacular variety. Rapids lineup: Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Tyrone Marshall, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Brian Mullan (Wells Thompson 78’), Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, Jamie Smith, Omar Cummings (Quincy Amarikwa 78’), Caleb Folan. 2012 (L 1-0 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps): The Vancouver Whitecaps spoiled Colorado’s annual Fourth of July celebration with a 1-0 victory at a sold-out DICK’S Sporting Goods Park. Despite the Rapids having the lion’s share of possession and chances for the home side, it was the Canadian visitors who scored the game’s only goal on a sweltering evening. Jordan Harvey’s 43rd-minute ball into the box appeared to be harmless, but Rapids center back Marvell Wynne whiffed on the cross, and Drew Moor’s poorly hit clearance deflected straight to the feet of Darren Mattocks, who fired home for the game-winner. Rapids lineup: Matt Pickens, Hunter Freeman (Edu 72'), Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Luis Zapata, Jeff Larentowicz, Jaime Castrillon (Jamie Smith 63'), Martin Rivero, Brian Mullan, Omar Cummings (Tony Cascio 61'), Conor Casey. 2013 (W 2-0 vs. New York Red Bulls): The first half went mostly in favor of the Colorado Rapids, but it wasn’t until the second that the Fourth of July hosts finally made it count in a 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls in front of a sold-out crowd at Dick’s Sporting Good’s Park. Midfielder Nathan Sturgis opened the scoring in the 47th minute and substitute Deshorn Brown extended the lead 21 minutes later. Rapids lineup: Clint Irwin, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, German Mera, Chris Klute, Hendry Thomas, Nathan Sturgis, Dillon Powers, Atiba Harris (Tony Cascio 71'), Nick LaBrocca (Deshorn Brown 46), Edson Buddle (Jaime Castrillon 77'). 2014 (D 1-1 vs. Columbus Crew): A late blunder from the Colorado Rapids gifted the Columbus Crew a 76th-minute equalizer, and a share of the points, in a Fourth of July duel at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Vicente Sanchez gave Colorado a 59th minute lead, before a costly error from rookie midfielder Jared Watts gifted Ethan Finlay a straightforward finish after a wayward pass from Dillon Powers. Rapids lineup: Clint Irwin, Marvell Wynne, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Chris Klute, Jared Watts, Nick LaBrocca, Vicente Sanchez, Dillon Powers (Marlon Hairston 84'), Kamani Hill (Dillon Serna 68'), Deshorn Brown (Edson Buddle 73').

2015 (W 2-1 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC): Kevin Doyle scored his first MLS goal as the Colorado Rapids beat Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 for only their third win of the campaign. The Rapids had gone ahead after only 78 seconds when Vicente Sanchez slotted home following a fine cutback by Luis Solignac. The Whitecaps equalizer came courtesy of Kekuta Manneh after a cross from Mauro Rosales, before Doyle's second-half winner. Rapids lineup: Clint Irwin, James Riley, Bobby Burling, Jared Watts, Drew Moor, Sam Cronin, Marcelo Sarvas (Dillon Powers 84’), Lucas Pittinari, Vicente Sánchez (Dillon Serna 73’), Luis Solignac, Kevin Doyle. 2016 (D 0-0 vs. Portland Timbers): Tim Howard kept a clean-sheet on his return to Major League Soccer as the Colorado Rapids drew 0-0 with the Portland Timbers at Dick’s Sporting Good Park. The USMNT keeper made crucial saves from Darren Mattocks and Lucas Melano to preserve a point in his first game back in the league for 12 years, 11 months, 22 days. Rapids were marginally the better side and had chances to score through Shkëlzen Gashi and Jermaine Jones. However, the visitors hit the woodwork at the end of each half. Fanendo Adi rattled the far post in the 43rd minute and Ned Grabavoy’s effort bounced off the outside of the upright in the final minute. Rapids lineup: Tim Howard, Eric Miller, Jared Watts, Axel Sjöberg, Mekeil Williams, Micheal Azira, Sam Cronin (Dillon Powers 82’), Jermaine Jones, Marlon Hairston (Dominique Badji 69’), Shkëlzen Gashi (Marco Pappa 67’), Kevin Doyle.

2017 (L 3-1 vs. Seattle Sounders): Two goals from Clint Dempsey and one from Will Bruin condemned the Rapids to their first defeat on 4th July since 2012. Dempsey opened the scoring early with a strike after just six minutes. Bruin made it 2-0 on the half hour, with Dempsey assisting. Dominique Badji reduced the arrears with 12 minutes remaining for his fifth of the season, before Dempsey cemented the Sounders success with the visitors’ third. Rapids lineup: Tim Howard, Dennis Castillo (Alan Gordon 64’), Mike Da Fonte, Eric Miller, Mekeil Williams (Caleb Calvert 45’), Nana Boateng (Michael Azira 59’), Marlon Hairston, Mohammed Saeid, Dillon Serna, Dominique Badji, Kevin Doyle. 2018 (L 2-1 vs. Seattle Sounders): Sam Nicholson scored his first goal for the club as the Rapids fell to the Sounders on 4th July for the second season in a row. Will Bruin bagged a brace as the Sounders claimed only a fourth win of the campaign, while ending the Rapids’ three game unbeaten streak. Rapids lineup: Tim Howard, Kortne Ford, Axel Sjoberg, Tommy Smith, Micheal Azira (Enzo Martinez 75’), Dominique Badji, Edgar Castillo (Joe Mason 55’), Shkëlzen Gashi, Sam Nicholson, Deklan Wynne, Yannick Boli (Jack McBean 45’).

2019 (L 2-1 vs. New England Revolution): With three delays due to heavy rain and lightning, and the game delayed a combined three hours and 34 minutes, this one stretched into 5th July before the Revs snapped the Rapids' seven-game unbeaten streak, while extending their own unbeaten run to seven games. With the weather breaks, the Revs were able to better cope with the altitude, and in between stoppages scored twice through Teal Bunbury and Juan Fernando Caicedo. Diego Rubio netted with 20 minutes remaining off a Nicolas Mezquida corner. The Rapids were denied an equalizer in the last minute due to heroics from Matt Turner, and there was still time for Kellyn Acosta to pick up two yellow cards in stoppage time as the home side ended a miserable night with 10 men and a third straight 4th July defeat. Rapids lineup: Tim Howard, Lalas Abubakar, Keegan Rosenberry, Tommy Smith, Sam Vines, Kellyn Acosta, Cole Bassett (Nicolas Mezquida 53’), Diego Rubio, Andre Shinyashiki, Danny Wilson (Sam Nicholson 72’), Kei Kamara. 2020 (Cancelled, due to Covid) 2021 (D 1-1 vs. Seattle Sounders): Meeting the Sounders on Independence Day for a third time in five seasons, this time the Rapids avoided defeat, halting their run of 4th July losses in the process. Alex Roldan scored his first goal in MLS with the opener after 41 minutes. Michael Barrios, with help from Auston Trusty and Sam Vines, leveled just shy of the hour mark. The Sounders side included former Rapids homegrown defender Shane O’Neill. Rapids lineup: William Yarbrough, Keegan Rosenberry, Danny Wilson, Auston Trusty, Sam Vines, Kellyn Acosta, Cole Bassett, Andre Shinyashiki (Braian Galvan 72’), Michael Barrios (Nicolas Mezquida 83’), Jonathan Lewis, Diego Rubio.

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