Pickens dedicates record win to ailing grandfather
Commerce City, Colo. - Matt Pickens sat on the training table following Saturday's win over Real Salt Lake processing the night, and the bad news he learned earlier in the week.
On the team level, the win was Colorado's first over their Rocky Mountain rivals in nine games. It also snapped a team-record tying six-game losing streak.
And on a personal level, Pickens earned his 40th career win in goal as a member of the Colorado Rapids, breaking a club record that had stood since 1999.
However for Pickens, what was on his mind was his grandfather, Richard, in Kentucky. Last Tuesday, Pickens' mother called to let him know that his grandfather - her father - was diagnosed with stage four cancer and given six months to live.
"My mom had asked me to dedicate this game to him," Pickens said as he received treatment. "I told her, 'absolutely,' that I'd do my best and that hopefully we'd come out with the win. I was thinking about him right after the whistle. I'm glad we could do this for the team, and that I could do this for my grandfather."
The significance of the win will remain with Pickens for a long time.
Aside from the personal dedication, Pickens entered the Rapids' record book in yet another category. He had already established the club's record for career shutouts, and the 1-0 victory was his sixth clean sheet of the season. The win also broke Marcus Hahnemann's grasp of the team's career wins record - one he'd held or share since winning his 8th game on July 4, 1997, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Hahnemann's win that day tied him with Chris Woods, who won eight games during the Rapids' inaugural 1996 season.
Hahnemman played in era where games had no ties, and won six of his games via the old shootout. He was transfered to England's Fulham FC halfway through the 1999 season, but no other Rapids 'keeper had been able to reach, let alone surpass, his 39 career wins - until Saturday.
"It’s a team thing and it goes out to the guys that have been here since I’ve been here, and the guys that used to be here as well," Pickens said afterwards of the record. "For me, it’s not an individual thing, it’s a team think just like the shutout record earlier this year. It’s a great night to get it against Salt Lake and turn the streak around."
Pickens, who last month became only the 13th player to appear in 100 games for the Rapids, can set another team high on Saturday against FC Dallas. He has appeared in 66 consecutive regular season games, tying teammates Drew Moor and Jeff Larentowicz for the most consecutive games played streak in team history. One more game and he'll add another milestone to a stellar season, and Rapids career.