But playing a game on a snow-blanketed pitch brought him back to a different time. And a different sport.
“It felt like back in fifth grade playing tackle football on a snow day,” Feilhaber said. “It didn’t even feel like a real game, to be honest. It was crazy.”
It wasn’t just the snow, which fell continuously and increased in intensity as the game went on. The temperature at kickoff was a balmy 18 degrees, making it the coldest recorded temperature for an MLS game ever — regular season or playoffs.
Gametime temperature for the Colorado Rapids-Portland Timbers match at Dick's Sporting Goods Park is 18 degrees -- the coldest recorded temperature for an #MLS match (regular season or playoffs) in league history.#COLvPOR #Rapids96 #RCTID— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) March 2, 2019
Feilhaber has some experience playing in frigid conditions. He was on the field for Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park for 2013 MLS Cup when the temperature was 20 degrees.
So what felt colder for the veteran midfielder?
“It might have been MLS Cup ’13, but this is way worse,” he said. “Look, as much as it’s fun to watch this, I hate playing in this crap. This isn’t football. It’s crazy. We all stuck together and did a job, but it’s difficult than anything you’ve trained all preseason when the field is basically sand. The snow at the end of the game was probably three or four inches. The ball sticks. It just becomes a different game.”
Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella agreed.
“Yeah, I mean listen it was a snowstorm. You couldn’t really get traction on the ground. There were piles of snow everywhere,” he said. “So of course it changed the game. To be fair, I thought we actually moved the ball really well and created a lot of dangerous chances. It just made the game really sloppy and I think that was maybe something that led to the third goal. A better clearance here or there, on a night where it is pretty dry and normal weather conditions, maybe we clear the ball and the game is over.”
The Timbers appeared to have suffered the only injury from the slippery surface when Costa Rican midfielder David Guzman signaled he hurt his groin and was subbed off late.
Subbing on late for the Rapids was rookie Andre Shinyashiki. It was almost fitting that the forward who played collegiate soccer at nearby University of Denver would find the late equalizer in blizzard-like conditions.
“I’m from Brazil so growing up I did not experience this weather, but at [the University of Denver] there were a few games where it got this cold, maybe not as snowy as it did here,” Shinyashiki said. “But definitely this cold I have played in before so I am kind of used to it.”