Foxborough, Mass. – When the Colorado Rapids visit Gillette Stadium on Saturday, much of the attention may surround four players that last year wore the other team’s colors.
On January, 22, 2010, the Rapids and New England Revolution executed a trade that saw midfielders Jeff Larentowicz and Wells Thompson come to Colorado in exchange for goalkeeper Preston Burpo and defender Cory Gibbs.
Both Thompson and Larentowicz have fond memories of their time in New England, which is not surprising since each made their professional debuts with the Revs and became regular contributors during their time with the east coast club.
“I have a lot of mixed emotions,” said Wells after Friday’s practice in Foxborough. “I guess coming in, I didn’t know what to feel. But getting here and seeing my parents and my host family that I lived with while I played here has been good; as has seeing a lot of people I got to know and miss.”
Thompson was the Revs' first pick in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft (5th overall) and played 71 games for New England over the past three seasons.
The Revs selected Larentowicz in the 4th Round of the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft. The Brown University grad only made one first-team appearance during his rookie year, but then became a vital part of the midfield as he went on to play in 110 games over the next four seasons.
“I am happy to be back but it’s a little odd,” added Larentowicz after the team’s morning workout. “It will be good to play in front of the fans here again and play against the former team.”
Despite their short time with the Rapids, each player has already contributed a game-winning goal this year. Larentowicz’s second-half freekick against Toronto last weekend broke a 1-1 tie in a game the Rapids went on to win 3-1. Earlier in the week, Thompson scored both goals as the Rapids defeated Kansas City 2-1 in a U.S. Open Cup play-in game.
And winning with the Rapids on Saturday is the main thought in their minds as they return to their former home ground.
“It’s good to see everyone, but at the same time I really just want to win the game,” said Larentowicz.
Thompson feels the same way: “I was talking to Jeff (Larentowicz) about this earlier and there is almost less pressure because you are playing against guys you know and have trained against for three years. It is good to be back, but I am happy to be with the Rapids and I’ll be a lot happier if we can get a big win tomorrow.”