Colorado Rapids 2001
2001 Club by Club
After four straight years of reaching the postseason, and with a lineup that included the addition of former Scottish international John Spencer as well as a number of young, talented players, the Rapids looked to be on the verge of big things as heading into the 2001 season.
In addition to the signing of Spencer, the Rapids other big move during the offseason was the hiring of head coach Tim Hankinson from Tampa Bay. In his two and a half years with the Mutiny, Hankinson helped lead the club to a 39-38-4 record and two playoff appearances.
However, Colorado came out of the gates slow under Hankinson and were unable to get back into the playoff picture. The Rapids won just two of their first 15 games, including a nine game winless streak. Even the midseason acquisitions of players like Chris Carrieri, Raul Diaz Arce, Scott Garlick and Carlos Valderrama could not get Colorado out of its skid, and it finished with a 5-13-8 record for a team record low of 23 points.
But the 2001 season was not a complete loss as a number of individuals turned in a series of fine performances. The most notable of these was Spencer who, despite the team’s poor record, finished third in the league in goals and points with 14 and 35 respectively. Spencer also became the first Rapids player ever to record a hat trick when he scored three times against Chicago in a 3-1 win in the Rapids' annual Independence Day blowout celebration at Mile High Stadium on July 4 in front of 60,500 fans.
The end of the year also saw the Rapids saying goodbye to Mile High Stadium, which had been the club's home since Opening Day 1996. Mile High was demolished at the end of the year to make way for the brand new Invesco Field, opening just next door. The Rapids played the last ever professional sporting event held at Mile High on Sept. 8, a 2-0 loss to the LA Galaxy. The Rapids were scheduled to play the first ever event and soccer match ever in Invesco Field later that month, but the match was cancelled following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.
The Rapids also said goodbye to Paul Bravo, the team’s all-time leading scorer, who retired at the end of the 2001 season. In 135 games with the club, Bravo scored 39 goals and registered 100 points, both of which were team records.