HONOLULU, HI - FEBRUARY 21: Assistant coach Wilmer Cabrera of the Colorado Rapids directs the reserve team during a scrimmage against the University of Hawaii men's soccer team during a preseason training session on the campus of the University of Hawaii on February 21, 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Rapids are preparing for the Hawaiin Islands Invitational Soccer Tournament. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
After a couple of days of soccer clinics along with some well deserved R&R, the Hawaii Islands Soccer Invitational begins tonight with the first two of what will be four games, the two semi-finals as it were. The first game for the Colorado Rapids will be against Japanese side Yokohama FC. They're not particularly the crown jewel of the Japanese game, finishing 18th in the second J-League division in 2011.
It's hard to tell how good a side the Rapids are planning on putting out for the game, since they might want to go for the cup to win some confidence for the team but while still avoiding injury as much as possible. It will certainly be fun to see if this will be our first real look at our 4-3-3 with a full strength roster. It's pretty likely that Kazuyoshi 'Kazu' Miura will be on the field for Yokohama, just for the star power.
The game will be at Aloha Stadium at 11:30 PM Mountain Time, so it's a late fixture for those of us out here that weren't moneybags enough to fly out to Hawaii! The first game against Korean side Busan I'Park FC and Australian side Melbourne Heart will be two and a half hours earlier. The winner of the Rapids/Yokohama game will face the winner of the Busan/Melbourne game on Saturday evening for the championship. The two losers will face each other earlier Saturday for third place.
In an unfortunate turn of events, it turns out that the match will not be shown on ESPN3 as we were originally told it would be. Both finals games will be on ESPN3, just not the semifinals.