The weather forecast is calling for snow and temperatures in the mid-30s for Saturday’s scheduled showdown at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park between the Colorado Rapids and the Portland Timbers (6 pm ET, MLS Live), but Mother Nature won’t keep the sides off the field, Rapids president Tim Hinchey told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Friday afternoon.
“The referees can always make a decision if somehow they feel it’s unsafe, but that’ll be a referee decision. We think it’s going to be more than ready to be playable,” Hinchey said. “We’re really comfortable with the playing surface.”
Hinchey said the team and grounds crew felt confident, based on weather reports and heating devices below the field itself, that the field conditions shouldn’t be a hindrance on Saturday despite the snowy forecast.
The elements haven’t been kind to the Rapids or the Colorado soccer community in recent memory.
Last year, the Rapids had their home opener postponed due to a major snowstorm that blew through the Denver area, pushing back the game to the following day. Less than two weeks later, the US national team played in the epic “Snow Clasico,” defeating Costa Rica 1-0 in a memorable snow-rich game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
But Saturday’s snow is not expected to be significant, with forecasters calling for two-to-four inches of accumulation that should melt with predicted temperatures just above freezing.
“We’ve had pretty decent weather coming into this, so the pitch is in fantastic condition,” Hinchey said. “We’re going to be fine.”
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Injury-wise, midfielder Dillon Serna, a surprise starter in the Rapids’ season-opening 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls last weekend, did not train outside on Friday due to a leg injury suffered in practice on Thursday. If he can’t start, veteran Vicente Sanchez would likely get the call in his place.
Goalkeeper Clint Irwin, who missed the season opener with a right quad strain, practiced close to 100 percent on Friday. He will likely be a game-time decision for Colorado. Midfielder Dillon Powers practiced fully all week after suffering a blow to the head on Saturday, requiring three staples to patch.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com