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Collen Warner calls final Rocky Mountain Cup match-up “a challenge we are ready for”

Colorado Rapids v Sporting Kansas City

Collen Warner is one of the few players who have played in the Rocky Mountain Cup from both sides of the state line. The Denver native began his professional career in Salt Lake City the year Colorado won MLS Cup. But now that Warner is securely back at his hometown club, he and his Rapids teammates know this weekend will not matter where either side sits in the Western Conference standings, saying, “Remember it’s a derby, so you have to show up for the fight. They’re a team that seems to always make it difficult for us.”

“They are always up for the challenge against us, they play some of their best games against us — that’s the way it should be. It’s a challenge we are ready for,” adds Warner.

A win at Real Salt Lake would be important on two fronts: It would secure the Rocky Mountain Cup for another year in Colorado, and perhaps even more importantly, secure a playoff berth for the Rapids for the second straight year — and with a handful of matches to go.

Tactics and gameplans are well and good, but Warner sees good old-fashioned want-to as a bigger key. “There’s a lot of things we have to improve on within our tactics and final actions and technical plays, but first things first you’ve got to bring the fighting spirit, especially away from home.”

Warner knows from experience getting the important win won’t be easy but given Colorado’s form on the road this season there’s no reason to believe it’s not possible for Warner and his teammates. “It’s a little bit weird seeing it on both sides,” said the one-time Real Salt Lake midfielder. “It’ll be a good match and we just need to stick to what we do best and bring our fight and win duels.”