Mullan reaches career milestone in Rapids’ win over RSL

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — At a training session last week, Colorado Rapids defender Hunter Freeman asked reporters within earshot to begin referring to Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan as “the champ.”

The nickname — a staple in the Rapids’ locker room — is fitting. With five MLS Cup titles in his 12-year MLS career, the 34-year-old Mullan can now add another milestone to his back pocket: Mullan is just the third member of the Rapids’ current squad and the 15th player in MLS history to reach 300 career games played after the Colorado native earned the start in Saturday night’s 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake.

HIGHLIGHTS: Colorado 1, Salt Lake 0

“It’s great, I’ve had a lot of great years,” Mullan said postgame. “[I’ve had] great games and bad games and to be able to win the 300th with the slump we’ve been in, it means a lot. And hopefully we just continue [to win].”

Mullan took the field against RSL holding the hands of his two young sons, an honor given to him for the first time in his career.

And the club made it count, picking up the win to snap a franchise-record six-game losing streak for the Rapids.

Mullan flashed his versatility in the match by switching to right back from his traditional right midfield role during the second half. Waiting in his locker after the game was a customized Rapids jersey emblazoned with “Da Champ” and the number “300,” along with signatures and notes from every player on the roster.

“We all call him the champ because he’s been around so long all he’s done is win,” midfielder Jeff Larentowicz told MLSsoccer.com postgame. “He’s a great guy to have in the locker room, always works hard. We’re happy to have him.”

Mullan received a multi-year contract extension last offseason, and despite his age, the Rapids are expecting the influential veteran to stick around for many years to come.

“Brian is an example for all of us,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja told reporters. “He’s an example of professionalism, dedication. Brian is that guy who brings that smile every morning, and you can play Brian anywhere and he will do the job. For us, we’re very proud to have him here.”

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.