One of the biggest cliches that is spoken or written is if the season ended today then some team will play another team in the playoffs. For instance if the Barclay's Premier League ended today then Manchester United would be out of the champions league next year and Liverpool would be champions. Now we all know Liverpool will fade and Manchester City will retake their rightful spot atop the table and be crowned champions for the second time in three years next May. The point is it's foolhardy to state the obvious sometimes. But with only five matches left in the MLS season for the Colorado Rapids it might be time to speculate which team I would like the Rapids to open with in their quest for a second MLS Cup.
Out of the teams that are currently in the playoff positions in the Western Conference the Rapids have the best record against the LA Galaxy(2-1). But the Rapids caught them at the right time all three games when the Gals didn't have Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez, and Robbie Keane due to various injuries, vacation, and National team call ups. The early season game against the Portland Timbers started off in the Rapids favor with Colorado taking a 2-0 lead early in the second half on March 30. But since the 2-0 lead the Rapids have been dominated allowing the Timbers to come back and get an equalizer in that match and the return trip having been the worst Rapids result on the season. A 3-0 loss in Portland on June 23rd. If you were so inclined you could explain away that the Rapids were on a 9-day four time zone trip with 3 matches during that span. The Timbers were also in the midst of a great points streak. In fact the Timbers have only lost once at Jeld-Wen Field all season which was March 9th against the Montreal Impact. Watching Portland be the only team that I can remember dominate the midfield against the Rapids all season means they would be the least favorable match-up in a wild-card game on the road.
Based on recent form and season series results I believe that the best match-up for the Rapids would be Real Salt Lake. From the first match between these two teams on the season, which also happened to be the debut of Clint Irwin, the Rapids have not played any team better with their full compliment of players. Since taking back the Rocky Mountain Cup in early August both teams have played pretty even with Salt Lake having pulled away to a three point lead with each team having five games remaining on the season.
As the results stand now I will get what I want, a home and home with the least hospitable team in MLS. Which is funny because the state of Utah is most known for showing up at peoples houses and begging their way inside to talk and their entire culture really depends on other peoples hospitality. Yet every visiting supporter has to have a police escort. You would think when they send their people on a mission that they would come back with some manners. In my fantasy league the number one seed gets to pick who they play in the playoffs. It's an owner calling his shot. Bad blood always happens because of this rule. We started with a cliche so lets end with one. Since we already have the bad blood with Salt Lake, let's throw a little gasoline on the fire and say that I hope Colorado plays Fake Salt Lake in the playoffs.