COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – So far, the only involvement of the Colorado Rapids in this summer’s increasingly frenetic round of international friendlies is the rescheduling of their MLS game against Philadelphia to accommodate Manchester United’s July visit to the City of Brotherly Love.
The Rapids were due to play the Union at home in regular MLS play July 21, but the Red Devils have now been scheduled to play Philadelphia that day as part of their preseason tour of the US. The Rapids have accordingly put back their game with Philadelphia to Sept. 29.
Many Rapids fans have been wondering whether their club will be making a more substantial contribution to the international friendly scene than just having to reschedule a game because of it. The answer appears to be no.
Head coach Gary Smith said nothing has been ruled out and that there is always a possibility of bringing in a big name club.
“But it’s looking ever more unlikely,” he admitted. “It’s disappointing when you see other teams playing such high profile clubs.” His words echoed those earlier this week of Paul Bravo, Rapids technical director, who admitted difficulties in bringing in an international opponent.
The Rapids have a partnership relationship with Arsenal in England. The team went to London as part of their preseason and played a game against an Arsenal team largely made up of youth players.
Such a game looks unlikely to be played on this side of the Atlantic, Smith said. Even if the Londoners were able to make the trip, it would probably not be made up of first team squad players. “And that would not be a lure for our supporters,” he said.
If there is an international friendly this season at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Smith promised it would be a high-quality club. “It would have to be a quality opponent on the field, somebody that inspires the punters to turn up for a game,” he said.
Last year, the Rapids played Club América of Mexico to a 0-0 draw. In 2008, the Rapids lost 2-1 to Everton as the English club made a trip to North America for its preseason.