The First Decade (1996-2006)
The Colorado Rapids were one of the ten founding clubs of Major League Soccer, owned and operated by the Anschutz Corporation (later AEG). The inaugural 1996 season was a forgettable one for Colorado. Despite fielding experienced players, the team finished dead last in the Western Conference with the worst record in the league. Balboa went down in history as the first player ever to score for the club and also the first ever player to record a goal at their home of Mile High Stadium in their first home match in 1996.
Colorado continued on a roller coaster of success and disappointment. The 2000 season boasted two of the more memorable moments in Rapids history. The first was Marcelo Balboa's famous bicycle kick which acquired the Goal of the Year. The second was clenching a playoff spot in the final game of the season against the Los Angeles Galaxy, with Paul Bravo scoring in the 97th minute.
In 2001 Tim Hankinson took the reins as Colorado's new head coach. 2002 was a banner year for the Rapids, and they started off their new year at their new home of Invesco Field at Mile High. Chris Henderson went down in history as the first player ever to score a goal in the brand-new stadium. The club advanced to the MLS Playoffs Semifinals, and although they didn't advance to the MLS Cup, the Rapids did clean up at the MLS postseason awards ceremonies.
2003 saw the club change their identity, with a rebranding that brought in the new team identity and color scheme of black and blue. The Rapids set a new MLS record for the lowest home Goals Against Average over an entire season with at 0.53 by only allowing eight goals in 15 matches at Invesco Field during the season, and never more than one in a single game. On the year Colorado was undefeated when scoring more than one goal, a credit to the play of goalkeeper Joe Cannon and the suffocating defense. Colorado's 2006 season seemed to parallel trends from previous years. Other highlights from the final black and blue season include securing the Rocky Mountain Cup for the second consecutive year and winning the MLS Reserve Division.
The Modern Era (2007-present)
New head executive Jeff Plush had taken over the business responsibilities of the club when he was named Managing Director in January of 2006. One of his main initiatives was to re-invent the club with new colors in the form of burgundy and blue, leading the way towards constructing the world's largest and most state of the art professional soccer stadium and fields complex, Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
The Rapids business-wise enjoyed a fantastic inaugural year at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, hosting numerous international exhibitions, tournaments on the stadium's 24-field complex, and the 2007 MLS All-Star Game; on the pitch though the team's performance was less than ideal.
The team started out strong with a series of good results, including a fantastic 2-1 victory over DC United in frigid conditions on MLS First Kick and the first-ever event in the newest soccer stadium in America. However as the season progressed, the team endured a long winless steak that saw them sink in the standings. Colorado struggled with inconsistent results at the end of the season and ultimately finished just shy of a playoff spot.
Colorado has had three logos in their history. They originally first used the "river" logo as their primary crest with the "circular" logo as a secondary one. For the 2007 re-branding, the Rapids created the new shield-style logo, which is the one that is currently used today.
The original look of the Rapids sported a predominantly white kit with green trim, when the club's uniform supplier was Puma. Other minor colors such as gold and blue were occasionally incorporated, with the club's association with Reebok.
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