While the Rapids are firmly focused on Saturday’s important tilt with the Seattle Sounders, a pair of players have turned some of their attention to an important Wednesday night fixture: Indiana University at the University of Notre Dame.
Drew Moor (a two-time National Champion with the Hoosiers in 2003 and 2004) and Dillon Powers (a four year starter for the Fighting Irish and 2013 Notre Dame graduate) have something special riding on the match between their former schools.
If Notre Dame wins, then Moor has to wear Powers’ Fighting Irish gear for the rest of the week. However, if Indiana wins, then Powers has to dress in Moor’s Hoosier gear.
The stakes are high.
“Dillon and I are very close friends, so it’s really all in fun whenever we joke about each other’s school,” says Moor. “I think he has a lot of respect for Indiana, like I have a lot of respect for Notre Dame. But when the two teams are on the field, it’s a pretty evenly matched, bitter rivalry.”
The banter between the teammates is nothing new, even though Powers has only been a member of the Rapids since the start of this season, his first in MLS.
“I met Drew when I came out here, and soon enough we got to talking about our schools,” says the rookie. “We both have a lot of pride in where we went to school, and especially our teams. It’s an in-state rivalry, and we’re both usually very competitive teams, so that’s how it was born.”
The wager on Wednesday night’s result was just an extension of their locker room trash talking, but both players still keep close tabs on their former teams, even though Moor has been out of college for nine years now, while for Powers it’s just over nine months.
“I’ve been watching them pretty closely,” says Powers of the Irish (4-0-3, 2-0-2 in conference). “They’re doing really well, undefeated still and playing good soccer.”
Moor noted that Indiana (4-4-1, 1-0-0 in conference play) did “start slow,” but said that things were turning around.
“They have a tough early schedule, they go on the road a lot, and we had a big win against Ohio State to open up Big 10 play,” said the Rapids captain.
Both players acknowledged that in rivalry games, standings and form often don’t matter, but they also made their predictions.
“IU-Notre Dame is always a good matchup regardless of how the teams are doing,” says Powers. “But I’ll go with 3-1, obviously for Notre Dame. I’ll stick with that.”
“My prediction is that it’s going to be a tight game,” said Moor, “and I think Indiana goes in and sneaks a one-goal victory, whether it’s in overtime or regulation.”
While both players have their pride and wardrobes riding on the bet, neither player had considered exactly what would happen if Wednesday night’s match ends in a draw.
“I don’t know,” said Moor. “Maybe he still has to wear Indiana stuff the rest of the week.”
Powers was having none of it.
“That’s a lie. That’s ridiculous,” said the rookie.
No matter the outcome, there will definitely be a new round of trash talking on Thursday morning, and perhaps one Rapids player will be wearing unfamiliar colors.