Rapids Weekly Team Update

COMMERCE CITY CO (6/3/08) – The Colorado Rapids will have to measure this week’s preparation for two games over a six day period in terms of hours and not days.
Coming off a Sunday afternoon victory that propelled the team back into first place atop the Western Conference the Rapids had barely enough time to catch their breath before the coaching staff and players' focus needed to be on the next game at hand only three short days away.
The team trained Monday and Tuesday before boarding a plane Tuesday afternoon headed for Kansas City. Colorado will play their second "play-in" match of the 2008 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Wednesday night against the Wizards and again have to re-focus for a regular season contest three days later on the West Coast.
(Wednesday's Open Cup game will not be broadcasted but Kansas City will be providing running commentary on the club's official blog Hillcrest Road; follow the match live at gametime by clicking here).
The Rapids will be in Colorado less than 24 hours before traveling to The Home Depot Center for the second time in as many weeks for a Saturday night tilt with the Galaxy (8:30pm MT on Altitude).
The early part of this week’s training mainly focused on finding the right combination of players that were even available to Fernando Clavijo and his staff in order to achieve the most success during this grueling part of the season.
The team also worked out on the synthetic fields at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park which are similar to the pitch they will see at Shawnee Mission North High School in Kansas City on Wednesday night.
The list of players traveling to K.C. included: Mehdi Ballouchy Jose Luis Burciaga Jr. Preston Burpo Colin Clark Terry Cooke Omar Cummings Facundo Erpen Rafael Gomes Herculez Gomez Mike Graczyk Brian Grazier Jordan Harvey Stephen Keel Kosuke Kimura Ciaran O’Brien Jacob Peterson Tim Ward and Cesar Zambrano.
Be sure to check back to for a full match recap after Wednesday’s contest.
For the full match preview of Saturday’s game featuring interactive projected lineups insider game notes head-to-head stats and the latest injury and suspension reports as well as a look at all the promotions surrounding the match click here!
US Open Cup Play-In:
Colorado Rapids at Kansas City Wizards
Wed. June 4
6:00pm MT
Shawnee Mission North High School
MLS Regular Season:
Colorado Rapids at Los Angeles Galaxy
Sat. June 7
8:30 p.m. MT
Home Depot Center
TV: Altitude
Colorado Rapids 2 vs. FC Dallas 1
Sun. June 1
1:00 p.m. MT
Dick's Sporting Goods Park
Match recap
Video highlights
Since injuring his groin on March 30 in a reserve game against Los Angeles Justin Hughes has been working diligently to return to the pitch. This week his journey back takes him all the way to Germany where he will have surgery.
Mike Petke participated in the post-training penalty kicks with the team. The crafty veteran softly chipped in his score past a driving Preston Burpo and is improving with his rehab.
John DiRaimondo and Kosuke Kimura both participated throughout training however in a limited fashion in drills and conditioning as teammate Nico Colaluca was put through his paces with the Rapids’ Strength & Conditioning Coach Jaime Heiner of Impact Sports.
No new players were added to this week’s Injury Report.
Today's quote comes Head Coach Fernando Clavijo on the team’s upcoming Saturday match at Los Angeles:
"We just played there and the only two players missing were Landon (Donovan) and (David) Beckham. They played the best team that they could. We know we can beat them there. They are a good team and have a lot of good players. They are team that has gone through some bad moments and right now they have recovered."

Vote for Casey: Rapids fans make sure to vote for Conor Casey’s cut-back goal against FC Dallas for the best goal in MLS this week. Click here to cast your vote. The weekly winner will vie for the honor of Sierra Mist Goal of the Year.
Rapids Youth Update: Following a big weekend that saw the Rapids’ U18s defeating the Colorado Rush in a match that was played on the stadium pitch inside Dick’s Sporting Goods Park both the Rapids U18s and U16s will be hitting the road for Seattle. Both teams will train Tuesday through Thursday then head out for Washington where they will face Crossfire and WA Premier over the weekend.
4th Fest Colorad Tickets are selling fast for the Rapids’ annual July 4th game & celebration presented jointly between the Rapids and Commerce City. Preceding the match between the Rapids and New York Red Bulls will be a festival on the stadium's field complex starting at 5pm featuring live bands kids’ activities a beer garden and interactive games for families and fans of all ages. Following the game will be Colorado's biggest and most explosive fireworks show in celebration of America's birthday. For tickets to the match and the best seat for "4th Fest Colorado" click here!
Rapids Connections: With both teams the Rapids face this week being charter MLS members there are numerous connections between the clubs. Here is a look at some:
With Kansas City…Colorado defender Jose Burciaga Jr. played for Kansas City from 2001-
2007…Wizards Team Administrator Rick Dressel served in the same position for the Rapids
from 1996-2005…Kansas City Technical Director Peter Vermes played in 89 games for Colorado from 1997-1999.
With Los Angeles…Colorado forward Herculez Gomez began his MLS career in Los Angeles and played there from 2003-2006…Rapids defender Ugo Ihemelu played for the Galaxy from 2005-2006…Colorado equipment manager Carlos Garcia served in the same position for Los Angeles for six seasons (1996-2001)…Galaxy defender Greg Vanney appeared in nine games for the Rapids in 2007…Los Angeles Goalkeeper Coach Ian Feuer played in 19 matches for Colorado during the 1999 season.

Goal Notes: So far this season Colorado is averaging 1.60 goals per game compared to 1.20 in 2007 at this point. Colorado’s 16 goals have been scored by 11 different players with Omar Cummings and Tom McManus leading the way with three goals apiece. Christian Gomez is right behind them with two.
Let Me Assist You: While the Rapids’ 16 goals have been scored by 11 different players Christian Gomez (5) and Terry Cooke (3) have eight of Colorado’s 14 assists. Gomez is one shy of the league lead and Cooke is three back. Both have had a multiple assist game this year. Gomez also has a league-leading streak of three games in a row with an assist (4/26-5/10).