FC Cincinnati made its best effort to ensure season ticket holders had access to the first two matches played at the new TQL Stadium, both of which were played at limited capacity due to Ohio's pandemic protocols and regulations.
Now that the protocols have been lifted, TQL Stadium is expected to be near its full 26,000 capacity for Saturday's visit from the Colorado Rapids.
That means there will be plenty more fans, and some that might not be as familiar with the clubs of Major League Soccer.
So, let's get to know FC Cincinnati's opponent for the scheduled 7:30 p.m. kickoff, the Rapids.
Colorado (4-2-1) currently sits fourth in the Western Conference under third-year head coach Robin Fraser, who wasn't in charge the last time FC Cincinnati played the Rapids to a 3-1 loss on June 1, 2019.
"It’s a team that can play good football. They succeed in getting results, but they also leave things and, hopefully, we can exploit that ... to get more out of the game ourselves,” FC Cincinnati head coach Jaap Stam said of Colorado during a Thursday interview.
Fraser took over the club Aug. 31, 2019, saw out that season with a ninth-place finish and the west and guided Colorado to a comfortable MLS Cup playoff qualification in 2020.
Under Fraser, the Rapids are a proven threat on the road having posted an 8-6-2 record on away days. The eight road victories are tied with New York City FC for the most in MLS during that time period, according to the Rapids.
Like FC Cincinnati, Colorado is re-starting its MLS campaign after the international break that saw three weeks pass between matches.
The Rapids are led by joint-leading goal-scorers Diego Rubio, Michael Barrios and Cole Bassett with two goals apiece. That signifies a deep, varied attack from the team – and those three players account for just half of Colorado's 12 goals on the year.
By comparison, FC Cincinnati (1-4-1) has six goals this season.
Barrios has goals in two consecutive games and has two goals and two assists in his last three games while Rubio, who could make his 50th career MLS appearance against Cincinnati, has two goals and one assist in his last five games.
And, of course, Colorado features third-year forward Andre Shinyashiki, whom FC Cincinnati passed on in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft in favor of UCLA product Frankie Amaya.
Shinyashiki was an attractive prospect in that year's draft class and led America's NCAA Division I ranks in scoring for the University of Denver. Still, FCC passed on the player, who would score against Cincinnati in their 2019 meeting.
While Amaya demanded a trade away from FCC and eventually received one to the New York Red Bulls, Shinyashiki has pumped in 12 goals and four assists in 53 career appearances.
Shinyashiki has one goal in this season.
Defensively, goalkeeper William Yarbrough and the Rapids defense have record three shutouts – something FC Cincinnati hasn't done once in 2021.