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Colorado Rapids Set to Face Hartford Athletic in Preseason Showdown

February 13, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Colorado Rapids News Release

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. - The Rapids are gearing up to take on Hartford Athletic of the USL Championship in a closed-door scrimmage on Wednesday, February 14, at 9 a.m. MT. This match marks their second fixture in the second leg of preseason matches in Orlando, FL, before their return to Colorado.

Colorado commenced their second leg of preseason with an impressive 6-2 victory against CF Montréal on Saturday, featuring goals from six different players. This triumph follows commanding wins during the first leg of preseason matches in Mexico, including a 5-1 triumph over Atlante FC and another 5-1 victory against Querétaro FC, after an initial 3-1 defeat against Atlético Morelia.

Hartford Athletic, founded five years ago on July 11, 2018, is currently led by Brendan Burke, a finalist for the 2021 USL Championship Coach of the Year award. Prior to coaching Hartford, Burke guided the Colorado Springs Switchbacks from 2021-22. Notable coaches in Hartford's history include Jimmy Nielsen, winner of the 2012 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award, who coached from 2018-19, and Tab Ramos, recipient of the 1990 U.S. Athlete of the Year award, who served as coach from 2022-23. In 2023, Hartford concluded the season in 12th place in the Eastern Conference and made it to the third round of the U.S. Open Cup.

Several players have strong connections between the Colorado Rapids and Hartford Athletic. Rapids Homegrown players Darren Yapi (2021), Sebastian Anderson (2021-22), and Michael Edwards (2021-22) played under Brendan Burke during their loan spells at the Colorado Springs Switchbacks. Marlon Hairston, now with Hartford Athletic, was drafted by Colorado with the 12th overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and enjoyed a successful stint with the Rapids from 2014-18. Commonly referred to as "Marly G," he contributed to the team's journey to the Western Conference Finals in 2016. Additionally, Enoch Mushagalusa, currently with Hartford, advanced through the Rapids Academy from the U15 to the U19 level, scoring 53 goals in 85 USSDA appearances from 2012-18.

During their time at the Switchbacks, Hartford winger Michee Ngalina, Anderson, Edwards played alongside each other from 2021-22. Notably, Ngalina also shared the pitch with Rapids forward Yapi during the 2021 season. Furthermore, Hartford midfielder Deshane Beckford also had the opportunity to play alongside Yapi, Anderson, and Edwards during their shared time at the Switchbacks in 2021.

While all scrimmages in Orlando will be closed-door events, fans of the Burgundy and Blue can stay updated on all the action through the official Rapids' social media accounts and for postgame coverage.

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