Commerce City, Colo. - The scenes are reminiscent of last summer, when soccer fans packed downtown bars to watch the U.S. National team and the World Cup. Last Saturday, however, it was area soccer fans supporting their local team - the Colorado Rapids - as they defeated the Columbus Crew to advance to the Conference Championship match.
Placed in the Eastern Conference due to quirky MLS playoff rules, the fans knew going into Saturday's game at Columbus that the winner would host the Conference Championship match the following weekend. Fourth-seeded San Jose had upset the top-seed New York Red Bulls last Thursday, which meant that either 2nd-seeded Columbus or 3rd-seeded Colorado would host San Jose for the right to go to MLS Cup.
Fans began arriving at Rapids partner-bar, The British Bulldog, and the Celtic Taven - both in downtown Denver - hours before the 2 pm kickoff. They watched and cheered the team for the long 120 minutes of the second-leg. And when the game was over and the Rapids had won on penalty kicks, fans celebrated the victory together and with others throughout downtown.
They'll be back at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Saturday, November 13 when the Rapids host San Jose at 7:30 pm. They are ready to celebrate even louder if the Rapids can win that match and advance to their second-ever MLS Cup final in Toronto on Nov. 21.
WATCH RAPIDS FANS CELEBRATE THE WIN AT THE BRITISH BULLDOG (Video courtesy BSG)
WATCH RAPIDS FANS CELEBRATE AT CELTIC TAVERN (Video courtesy Class VI and Pid Army)
WATCH CLASS VI AND PID ARMY MARCH DOWN 16TH STREET MALL (ColoradoRapids.com)
WATCH A CLIP FROM THE RAPIDS BENCH WHEN THEY WON ON PENALTY KICKS (ColoradoRapids.com)