Chicago that is. I'm sure Chicago is a great city but when you are at Dick's Sporting Goods Park looking at the snow-capped mountains on a sunny morning and playing soccer for a living, Denver sure looks good. I watched the squad in training yesterday and what I would give to be 25, as fit as a butcher's dog and playing on the carpet that is the Rapids' training ground.
The San Jose debacle is behind us and we move on to the Chicago suburbs. Colin Clark told me yesterday that nobody for a minute underestimated San Jose but also that everyone was equally surprised by the way the Earthquakes came at them last weekend. They weren't prepared for that. Kosuke Kimura admitted that everybody had a bad game but it is now behind them. It could be a good lesson for everyone. There are no easy games just as there is no team that the Rapids cannot beat. We must play attackingly against Chicago as we did in all our games so far bar San Jose.
The boys looked sharp in training which included a scrimmage against the University of Denver team. Nearly all the squad got some playing time in the scrimmage with what looked like a possible first team, more or less, coming out in the last 30 minutes or so. It was noticeable how the Rapids dominated that last half an hour even though the DU team manfully managed to keep them out and there was no score in the end. The DU coaches were very happy with that result. You should check out the DU games at Pioneer Field sometime. The current Spring schedule sees them taking on the Colorado School of Mines this Sunday at 2pm.
So, who will be playing this weekend? Kimura told me there could be a little tinkering with the team but, if you look at the Rapids website, the formation seems to be pretty much the same with Pablo Mastroeni coming in for the injured John DiRaimondo (link below).
DiRaimondo is out for a couple of weeks. He said he is grateful because he really thought at the time that he may have broken his ankle. It is just sprained. Justin Hughes continues to work back to fitness and is hopeful of playing in a scrimmage against the University of New Mexico next week during training. Ugo Ihemelu, who looked dominant and impressive in the scrimmage yesteday, is back in contention but would seem unlikely to start this weekend. Nick LaBrocca looks like he has been 12 rounds but showed no effects from last week's bloodied nose.