Heroes rise for an unlikely win
Heroes. They come in every shape and size. Heroes don’t always wear capes, sometimes they wear jerseys.
Watching the team take the field at Dick’s Sporting Goods Field is inspirational. As each young soccer player looks up at the pro, you can see the look of admiration in their faces. Getting to walk onto the field with them is close to magical.
The children’s hopes matched their heroes on Saturday night; the Rapids need a win.
Maybe it was the fan’s rendition of “The Saints Come Marching In” or the drive to bring back the Rocky Mountain Cup, but the Rapids brought their “A” game, April 6 against Real Salt Lake.
Although the Rapids controlled for ball 39 percent of the time, at the half, they played hard for every ball. Passion and drive flowing from the field.
And some of this upbeat attitude has to be attributed to goalkeeper Clint Irwin. Passion, character, pride; Irwin beams with it all. Though Irwin is still a rookie, he has been stepping up since Matt Pickens went out on March 16 with an arm broken at Salt Lake. Revenge is best served cold. Though it wasn’t cold this evening, the Rapids got the pleasure of avenging Pickens.
Irwin against Alvaro Saborio in the 10th minute was the game in microcosm. Up steps Saborio, who had been 12-for-12 in penalty kicks. Opposite him stands Irwin, a raw keeper playing the third game of his career. Saborio fired. Fully anticipating the kick, Irwin dove for the ball, and poked it wide.
“I was just extremely happy. The past couple games we’ve had two penalties, and I’ve come close to saving them, and honestly I was just sick of having PKs scored on me,” said Irwin afterward.
Creating goal attempts, the Rapid’s strong suit, was a bit of a fumbled effort at the beginning of the game. Finally after coming so close to getting a goal, Atiba Harris scored his first goal of the season and his first as a Rapid.
The Subaru Rocky Mountain Cup, started in 2005, has not been with the Rapids since 2006. Saturday was the second of three games that will be played for the cup. The Cup was not decided this night, but the Rapids are in the lead with a win and a draw. The victor will be decided after the Aug. 3 match, also in Commerce City.
But those thoughts are far away from Saturday night. Gaining their first win of the season the crowd and the team went wild with cheers. “Rapids…..Rapids…..Rapids…..” echoed throughout the arena. Displaying to their young guests that with hard work and dedication, they can achieve anything.
Final: Rapids 1, Real Salt Lake 0.
Next Up: April 13 8:30 p.m. at Chivas USA.
Welcome Back: Defender and frequent captain Drew Moor will return to action after a two-game suspension for a red card.