Rogers takes issue with Rapids smack talk

NEW YORK – Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Matt
Pickens delivered a subtle message on Tuesday about drawing the
Columbus Crew in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs.

"I like our draw, I'll put it that way," Pickens
told the Denver Post.

Columbus Crew winger Robbie Rogers did not read the comment
but was surprised to hear about it when contacted by MLSsoccer.com just before flying
out to Denver ahead of Thursday’s MLS Cup playoff opener at
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes).

“Not the smartest comment to make, especially with a team that
has done as well as we have in the last three seasons,” Rogers said. “I’m glad
for them that they made the playoffs and now we get to face them. … It gives me
more motivation.”

Rogers, who came back from left knee surgery to play all 90 minutes of
the Crew’s final three regular-season matches, said his team is not the road-weary side it was a few weeks ago when it battled through US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League matches. Despite the fact the Crew have to play at altitude and are on short rest, Rogers said the team is in good spirits.

WATCH: MLSsoccer.com previews Colorado vs. Crew

“In training, and in the last few games, everyone looks like
they have a lot of energy and look pretty sharp,” Rogers said. “A few weeks ago,
I would have told you another story, but right now, everyone looks really healthy
and really strong.”

They will need that energy to execute the game plan that
Rogers says the team has laid out for the match. The Crew plan to be cautious,
but at the same time will pressure and force the Rapids into mistakes, hoping to
capitalize on the opportunities.

The Fighting Canaries, who won the Supporters' Shield in 2008
and 2009 and missed out by just nine points this season, are a little befuddled
at the fact that some might consider them underdogs in this series.

Former Colorado Rapids legend Marcelo Balboa told
MLSsoccer.com that he considers his ex-club to be the favorites given the form
each side has shown in the stretch run of the regular season.

“The last time people looked down on us we won a championship
in 2008,” Rogers said. “I don’t know about the other guys [on the Crew], but I think it’s great
to be an underdog. I don’t feel we are, but it gives us more motivation.”

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