Commerce City, Colo. (August 22, 2011) - It was an early morning for the 19 players and nine members of the staff Monday as they met at Dick's Sporting Goods Park at 5:45 am before leaving for Denver International Airport to begin the long journey to Honduras. The Rapids play their second Group B match of the Champions League against Honduran Apertura champion Real España on Tuesday, August 23 at Estadio Morazan in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
"Like I’ve said all along I want to stay competitive," head coach Gary Smith said Saturday night. "I’ve got to make sure that the guys in the squad are capable of fulfilling a good job, which I’m sure they can achieve. Now, if I get the balance right we’ll be competitive, if I get the balance wrong we won’t be. It’s a big challenge for me to make sure that we stay fit healthy and competitive on two fronts now. Teams have done it before and they’ve done a very good job, and I’m now appreciating what they went through."
With the late announcement of the Group play schedule which added a match in Central America in between two league game - one in Colorado (last Saturday) and in Chicago next Saturday - the team will arrive into Honduras on Monday night after a long connection in Miami, Florida. Only goalkeeper Matt Pickens and defender Marvell Wynne did not travel who played in the 3-2 win over Isidro Metapan last week in Commerce City. Pickens was replaced by Chris Sharpe and Wynne for Omar Cummings, who sat out last week with a sore ankle.
RAPIDS ROSTER FOR HONDURAS TRIP (only 18 dress on match day):
GOALKEEPERS: Stew Ceus, Chris Sharpe
DEFENDERS: Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Kosuke Kimura, Danny Earls, Mike Holody, Scott Palguta.
MIDFIELDERS: Jeff Larentowicz, Brian Mullan, Sanna Nyassi, Joseph Nane, Ross LaBauex, Wells Thompson.
FORWARDS: Omar Cummings, Mac Kandji, Caleb Folan, Quincy Amarikwa, Andre Akpan.
Note: Chris Sharpe is an MLS pool goalkeeper that trains regularly with the Rapids. CONCACAF and MLS agreed that Sharpe could be added to the Rapids 30-man Champions League roster for the group stage of the tournament. Colorado 'keeper Matt Pickens is being rested after playing every minute of every game this season with a sore groin and reserve Ian Joyce has been challenged with a sore back.
Note 2: The roster includes players that represent 10 countries: Ceus (Haiti), Sharpe (Australia), Marshall and Cummings (Jamaica), Kimura (Japan), Earls (Ireland), Folan (England), Kandji (Senegal), Nyassi (Gambia), Nane (Cameroon), and the rest from the United States. Ceus has been called in by Haiti for World Cup Qualifying matches on September 2 and 6.