COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – After winter weather moved into Colorado late Tuesday night and left a blanket of snow over the Denver Metro area, game time temperatures for Thursday night’s Rapids vs. Crew wil card game (10 pm ET, streamed live on MLSsoccer.com, TSN2 in Canada) are expected to be around freezing.
The Rapids will take it, though. For them, the most important thing is that the game is at home.
After a long and difficult season of extended travel for Colorado due to CONCACAF Champions League play, the prospect of playing at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park followed by another home game on Sunday if they beat Columbus trumps any bad weather.
“We’ve had so many games in CONCACAF and our schedule has been so hectic the last two or three months, but this is just one game,” defender Kosuke Kimura told MLSsoccer.com. “It will be bad weather, but we just need the right mental set and we’ll just have to do it from minute one.”
Last week’s travel schedule typified the difficulties of being involved in two competitions at once. The squad took virtually a whole day to travel down to Mexico to play Santos Laguna, played the game on Wednesday and then took another day to travel back to Denver on Thursday. The next day, they flew to Vancouver for their regular-season finale on Saturday. Three countries in three days.
“I’m a bit beat up,” admitted Kimura, who has been one of the busiest Rapids players all season, starting in every MLS game and being involved in all but one of the CCL games. "But when the time comes, you have to have the right mental set and I think we have a good energy within the team and good momentum after we won against Vancouver."
The game-winning goal in their 2-1 victory in Vancouver last weekend came from Wells Thompson, who has been ever-present in CCL play and has played 22 games in MLS this season. The Rapids will be ready to play Thursday night whatever the weather, he said.
“It’s another factor,” Thompson told MLSsoccer.com. “You can make a million different excuses. I think everybody on our side will come and be ready. I think our preseason prepares us for that – we are out here trudging around on the turf in the snow and stuff. I am sure it will be difficult for teams coming in and adjusting to that.”
According to Kimura, the key will be remaining positive in despite adverse weather difficult conditions.
“No one likes to play us here,” Kimura said. “We’ve just got to take advantage of that and just do it, stay positive and keep going.”