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What you need to know about…
…the game: The July 29 AT&T MLS All-Star match pairs MLS’s best against a Premier League team. (Side note: The league used to field two squads with MLS stars for the All-Star Game, but switched to the current format of playing an international team in 2003, a decision that should be reconsidered. The league has plenty of talent for two teams.)
…the opponent: Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (nicknamed “Spurs”) has played the Beautiful Game since 1882. Last season, the team floundered at the end to finish in fifth place, despite an incredible season from striker Harry Kane.
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…the team: The 22-player roster includes longtime Rapids defender Drew Moor, who’s returned to the lineup after a devastating ACL injury sidelined him for months. Fans of the U.S. Men’s National Team will see plenty of familiar faces, including Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley. The commissioner added two well-known names—Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard—to the team, which caused a bit of controversy because both are newbies to the league (of course, international fans will recognize the pair from their Premier League careers).
…tailgating: While there are loads of events planned for the days before the game (one of our picks is the Chipotle Homegrown Game, featuring the best young players from 14 domestic clubs), we’re most keen on pre-partying at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. If you want to blend in with the masses, make sure to bring 1) a soccer ball to show off your touch skills; 2) a six pack of Colorado craft beer; and 3) a bean bag toss game to look like a Rapids season ticket holder.
…the sun: The game starts at 7 p.m., which means that people sitting on the east side of the stadium will be solidly in the sun for a while. Make sure to load up on sunscreen and wear a baseball cap so you can see the field better.
…the coach: Colorado Rapids coach (and former player) Pablo Mastroeni will boss things from the sideline. The embattled leader—his first season was a disaster and #PabloOut has frequently appeared on Twitter for much of this season—has shaved his mustache and is coming off a three-game winning streak. Find out why that is so important in “Head Games,” my March 2015 profile of the coach.