COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Vancouver’s win over Chivas USA on Wednesday night officially eliminated the Colorado Rapids from postseason contention, but the team says that won’t change their approach to the season’s final three games.
With a home date against San Jose on Saturday (9 pm ET, watch LIVE online) and a season finale against the Houston Dynamo on Oct. 27, the Rapids still have the ability to play spoiler in their final trio of games in 2012, and it’s a role head coach Oscar Pareja is taking seriously.
“We addressed it yesterday morning, we’re going to keep professionalism, keep training, we keep trying,” Pareja told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “If things come our way, good, if not, we have a long journey to go, and it’s not stopping until the final whistle.”
With the ultra-competitive Pareja at the helm, the Rapids’ approach is unlikely to waver despite the guarantee of missing the postseason for the first time since 2009. Many Colorado players said on Wednesday said they weren’t even planning on watching the decisive Vancouver-Chivas match, saying the outcome wouldn’t change their approach to Saturday’s game against San Jose.
“We’ve still got three games left and we want to get all nine points still, so that doesn’t change the mentality of the group as far as going out strong and ending the season the right way,” goalkeeper Matt Pickens told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday.
Younger players – striker Tony Cascio and midfielder Shane O’Neill may be the most likely beneficiaries – could be in line to receive additional minutes in the season’s final three games. But regardless of who plays, the team’s work ethic won’t waver, despite the disappointment of missing the postseason.
“I think we've got a pretty blue-collar, workman-like attitude with these guys, so I don’t see it changing at all,” Pickens said.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.