CCL: Rapids arrive in Mexico to face Santos

Team knows a win will put them through to the quarterfinals

Smith interviewed at Torreon Airport

Photo Credit: 
ColoradoRapids.com

Torreon, Mexico - Despite another long travel day, the Colorado Rapids arrived in Torreon, Mexico late on Tuesday night excited and focused on the task at hand. A win over Santos Laguna on Wednesday night at Estadio Corono will put the Rapids through to the Quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League.

"The travel was a bit crazy, getting to the hotel this late," said forward Omar Cummings. "But we're focused. I think we're playing some good soccer right now, and we're ready to go."

The group left Dick's Sporting Goods Park at 11:45 am Tuesday morning and arrived at Torreon International Airport at 10:30 pm. Local media interviewed coach Gary Smith and Cummings at the airport before the team boarded the bus to the hotel, where they arrived and had a midnight dinner. 

"The vibe has been very good since practice yesterday," said forward Mac Kandji. "All the guys are excited and we know we need the three points here to get through for sure. I have very high hopes that we can get the job done."

Santos, which defeated the Rapids 4-1 in Colorado last month, are already guaranteed a quarterfinal berth. The Rapids know that a win will put them through to the next round, but that's not the only motivation in wanting to win the game.

"When a team beats you like that at home, you always want a little bit of revenge," said Cummings. "You want to show that you're not as bad as they made you out to be. We have that chance (Wednesday)."

NOTES: Winger Josh Janniere replaced midfielder Joseph Nane on the travel roster...The team had a slight concern in Houston. With a full flight to Torreon, the Rapids had all but one confirmed seat on the plane. The airline asked for volunteers and a mother and teenage son accepted the airline's offer, so the full Rapids group flew together. The next flight to Torreon would have been through Mexico City on Wednesday morning. Rapids officials gave the pair team gear for their willingness to adjust their plans...Also on the flight from Houston to Torreon were all four Jamaican officials that will call Wednesday's game: referee Courtney Campbell, assistants Ricardo Morgan and Keble Williams, and 4th official Kevin Morrison.