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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Rapids gears up for first-ever MLS Thanksgiving match: “They pulled it off in ways I couldn’t even expect”

Colorado will host a major Thanksgiving football match with big stakes and a national television audience.

No, not the Broncos.

Claiming the MLS Western Conference regular-season title, the Colorado Rapids are set to host the Portland Timbers FC in the second round of the MLS Cup playoffs after a first-round bye. The league’s first Thanksgiving Day match is the biggest in the club’s 26-year history and will air on Fox at 2:30 p.m.

“We’re incredibly excited about the fact that we’re going to be joining this on national TV,” said Rapids general manager Pedrig Smith. “One of the exciting things for us is having the first (MLS) game on Thanksgiving and being able to do this in front of a packed house at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park with our supporters.

“It gives us an incredible advantage on the field and then, for some people around the country, they will get an opportunity to see how good this team is and how they have evolved and developed into a team that is number one. deserves a place in the West.”

It all seemed impossible a few years ago and seemed impossible a few weeks ago.

Ending the season with wins in three of their final four games, the Rapids handled business through decision day and with little help from Seattle (tie) and Kansas City (loss).

A 5–2 Colorado win over Los Angeles Football Club in the finale of the regular season saw LAFC crash out of the playoffs. Two years earlier, LAFC used the last day’s play to compete with the Rapids post-season.

It all came full circle in 2021, keeping pace with the Rapids fan base.

“The Judgment Day game was very special; I cried when he grabbed the spot,” said lifelong Rapids fan John Boraz. “This is the first time in club history that we legitimately have a club of this caliber.”

Boraz lists that match as one of the five biggest ever played by Rapids, with the upcoming Turkey Day match already in his ranking.

In the midst of a three-year playoff drought, Smith and Wayne Brant published an op-ed in The Denver Post in August of 2017, detailing their mission for the club and how they wanted to build it.

As the team continued to fail on the field and firefighters turned away from it, the fanbase poked fun at the piece.

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“When Padraig and Wayne put the ‘Rapid’s Way’ op-ed to The Post, there was a lot of fun, a lot of blindfolds,” Boraz said. “It was ridiculed for a long time beyond that, but he hated it. He pulled it off in a way that I, as a fan, couldn’t even expect.”

The club’s first finish above the Western Conference standings was scripted by a roster of sensible international additions, strong intraleague moves and young domestic talent.

“Our fans can expect to see what we talked about (in the op-ed) a few years back – an exciting, attacking, entertaining team that plays with urgency, intensity and courage,” Smith said. “We have built it on the backs of young, home players who have real experience and class coming from outside as well.

“It’s an exciting group, an attacker and one that ultimately likes to put on a show.”

Now this show will be visible across the country.

Major League Soccer internally promised to slot whatever team finished in the West. When the Rapids got injured there, sources say that MLS and its TV partners tried to involve Seattle in the match. Behind the scenes, Rapids gears up for the holiday game.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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