Some fascinating MLS reunions could take place in the Colorado Rapids' home opener if the weather doesn't get in the way.
The Rapids are scheduled to face the franchise's all-time leading goal scorer in Conor Casey when they meet the Philadelphia Union, but a predicted snowstorm Saturday could throw a wrench into those plans.
Up to one foot of snow is forecast for the Denver area, but Colorado has not yet decided to move this contest. Coach Oscar Pareja says he will not alter his game plan no matter what the weather brings.
"We're in Colorado," Pareja told the league's official website. "That's the nature of our weather, and we deal with it."
The weather in Philadelphia hasn't exactly been warm and sunny, but coach John Hackworth knows this trip presents a major challenge.
"It's supposed to be worse in Denver on Saturday," Hackworth said. "Denver weather is a little different, but the temperature is supposed to be colder, there's a chance of snow."
Hackworth said the conditions will play a major role in how he approaches this contest.
"It's an extremely difficult place to play," Hackworth said. "One, the altitude, it gets to you. In this sport, playing at the level we're trying to play at, the altitude has an effect. We're going to have to change our tactics because of that."
Casey is the Rapids' all-time leader with 50 goals, helping the club win its lone MLS Cup title in 2010. His next two seasons were plagued by injuries, and Colorado declined to pick up an option on him for 2013.
The forward logged six minutes in his Philadelphia debut last Saturday, a season-opening 3-1 home loss to Sporting Kansas City.
"I've been there for a very long time, six years there," Casey said. "Great years there, amazing support from the fans. It'll be nice to play in the stadium again in front of family and friends and all those fans, a little strange to be wearing a different jersey."
He's not the only player excited about the possibility of facing his former team. Danny Mwanga, an original member of the Union, has yet to face Philadelphia since the club traded him to Portland last year.
Mwanga was dealt by the Timbers to Colorado two days before the Rapids opened with a 1-0 loss to FC Dallas last Saturday so he has yet to make his Rapids debut. He is tied for second on the Union's all-time goals list with 12.
"I was a part of that team and I know some of the guys on that team, so it can be an advantage," Mwanga told the Rapids' official website. "But at the same time they can try to make it hard for me. I'm ready for it."
Colorado is 3-0-2 all-time against Philadelphia, with Mwanga scoring the tying goal for the Union in both draws.
The Rapids are 6-0-3 in home openers since losing to San Jose in 2003.
Colorado midfielder Pablo Mastroeni should make his first home start since last season's opener. He missed nearly an entire year battling a concussion before returning last weekend.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- Colorado Rapids
- John Hackworth
- Philadelphia Union
- Conor Casey