Ask yourself this: Have you ever attended a Colorado Rapids vs Real Salt Lake match at Rio Tinto?
I hope that most of you answered yes to that question as it is an important one.
In the United States, traveling to away soccer matches is not an easy thing. Most of us do not have our bitter rival in the same city much like Manchester United and Manchester City do or Liverpool and Everton do. Those natural rivals are within the same city (and in the case of the Toffees and Reds, within a short walk of one another). In general we do not have that here in the States. Sure Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA share a home field, but it would be a stretch to call it a rivalry. The Cascadia cup is contested by three teams up and down Interstate 5, but it still requires a bit of a drive from Portland to Seattle to Vancouver (let alone that pesky Passport).
Needless to say, nothing is that close in this great country of ours.
But here in Denver we are fortunate that our rival is a mere 7 1/2 hour car ride away or a quick hour plane flight. Just 523 miles (according to the Google) separates Dick's Sporting Goods Park and Rio Tinto Stadium. I have made that drive more times than I care to admit, but never once have I regretted that drive. I have made it in a mini-van (set up with an Xbox 360 in the back), a small POS car that gave me pause as it climbed Happy Jack, and of course via the plane. Even when the results have not gone our way, it has been worth it.
Why you ask? To see a spectacular save from an unknown goalkeeper who came in for an injured starter. To see Conor Casey shut the Rio Tinto crowd up with a header. To see Omar Cummings tie it at the death and steal a point. And most of all to walk around in that stadium in my Burgundy with a star above the Rapids crest. And to do it proudly. And when the game is over, and you are enjoying a pint or two at a local bar in Salt Lake, you will look back and smile. Because you went into the belly of the beast, and irrespective of the result, you stood and chanted your butt off in support of your Colorado Rapids.
And this year has extra importance. We have the Rocky Mountain Cup and you best believe that RSL will be gunning for it. So whether you are considering the drive with some buddies or getting involved with a Centennial 38 trip, make it happen. Do it at least once (or this year twice). You will be happy you did.