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Colorado Storylines 3:18

Storylines is ready for some warmer weather after soaking in the wonderful atmosphere of the Snow Opener. Just in time, Minnesota United will make the road trip to escape winter’s firm grasp. This weekend’s destination being… Colorado. Well, that’s technically South, so it could be a bit warmer… maybe. 

Regardless of weather, matches in the Centennial State have been somewhat of a stumbling block for the Black and Blue since joining Major League Soccer. In 13 regular season games, MNUFC is 4-7-2 against the Rapids, with all four wins taking place at home. After seven attempts, the Loons have yet to win in the Rapids’ house, accumulating a record of 0-5-2.

When these two sides first met in 2017, they played to a 2-2 draw at DICK’s Sporting Goods Park. That scoreline is tied with the 2020 result for the Loons best-ever result in Kroenke-land. On every other occasion, something has gone wrong.

MNUFC fans will remember last year’s match well. A rain delay, a Gyasi Zardes hattrick, a Luis Amarilla banger and much more made the seven-goal thriller into must-watch soccer. Though the result didn’t go Minnesota’s way, that was some fun stuff to watch. 

In years past, the Black and Blue have fallen to the Rapids in different ways. Second-half comebacks, bench-clearing brawls and some maddeningly close-calls have turned this matchup into a bit of a showdown, producing fiery games and feeding a healthy Western Conference rivalry. 

Every loss adds to the belief that there is a “Colorado Curse,” creating a bigger hurdle to overcome with every passing season. But, curses are meant to be broken; that’s why they all have loopholes, right?

Every fairytale curse has some way out: a kiss from royalty, a fairy godmother, or a special elixir. To rid themselves of the Colorado Curse, the Loons won’t be relying on anything quite as hokey, though the solution is even more magical: goals. 

Both squads look very different to last year. For Colorado, the absence of Loon-slayer Gyasi Zardes will be a welcome sight. For Minnesota, defensive signings and the absence of Emanuel Reynoso highlight the biggest changes. 

In the first two games of the season, MNUFC have demonstrated a defensive solidity that is among the best in the league. New signing Miguel Tapias has been a perfect partner for Michael Boxall in the heart of the backline, and fullback Zarek Valentin has added valuable experience and versatility. There is reason to believe this defense will stand tall, even in Colorado. 

Despite the consistency in the back, questions remain up top. Who will step up to score the curse-breaking goal? Ménder García and Bongokuhle Hlongwane are the only two Loons to get on the scoresheet this year, but there are plenty more players capable of bagging a goal when they’re at their best. Perhaps Luis Amarilla will announce his intentions for a big season with his first of the year, or maybe Robin Lod will bang in a brace to break the MNUFC goalscoring record along with the curse. 

Scoring this weekend will be about more than just getting the win; it will be about finding a sustainable attacking rhythm that the squad can move forward with. Robin Lod appeared more comfortable at the CAM position against New York, but more work needs to be done to find a fluid link to connect the whole team. Until someone steps up, goals will continue to be hard to come by. 

No matter who the hero of the story is on Saturday night, one thing is certain: this curse got old as soon as it started, and it’s time for it to end. 


Colorado Rapids vs. Minnesota United FC

DICK’s Sporting Goods Park | Commerce City, Colorado

03.18.2023 | MLS Week No. 4 | MLS Game #3

7:30 p.m. CT (MLS Season Pass, 1500 ESPN)