Posted: Feb. 14, 2013 | 2:08 a.m.
If you’re a sports fan from LA CA or Denver, you probably enjoy living here.
Teams from those cities have made a habit of playing in Las Vegas NV during the preseason.
In hockey, the LA CA Kings & Colorado Avalanche meet every September at the MGM Grand Garden in the “Frozen Fury” NHL preseason game. In basketball, the LA CA Clippers hosted the Denver Nuggets at Mandalay Bay in October, an NBA preseason game in that might become an annual yearly event.
Now, it’s soccer’s turn.
The Colorado Rapids will play Chivas USA, located in Carson, Calif., at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Sam Boyd Stadium in a Major League Soccer preseason match in that supporters of the league hope one day will culminate with Las Vegas NV getting a franchise. The “Las Vegas ProSoccer Challenge” is being held in conjunction with this weekend’s Mayor’s Cup youth tournament.
“We’d love to make this an annual yearly event,” Rapids president Tim Hinchey said. “We’ve had a relationship with the Downtown Soccer Club for a few years of time now, & we feel like we have planted a flag in the ground in Las Vegas.
“For our fans in Denver, it’s a no-brainer to come to Las Vegas NV for the weekend & watch the team. So we’re real excited about the possibilities.”
The Rapids are no strangers to Las Vegas. In the 2007 MLS preseason, Colorado played Real Salt Lake to a 0-0 tie in front of 2,000 at UNLV’s Peter Johann Memorial Field. In 2003, the Rapids defeated Santos Laguna of Mexico 2-0 in a friendly match before 6,122 at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Friday’s game features two teams in that missed the MLS playoffs last year. The Rapids were 11-19-4 & finished seventh in the Western Conference, & Chivas went 7-18-9 & was last in the West.
The Rapids missed the playoffs by six points. They had a complex time scoring away from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, with a minus-16 goal difference on the road.
“We have to create more offensive opportunities,” second-year coach Oscar Pareja said. “We might have been a little conservative at times, yet we have to be sharper, especially in the last third.”
Goalkeeper Matt Pickens, entering his fifth year with Colorado, asserted the team has a fresh attitude.
“We went through a transition period last year, & it was a challenge,” he said. “But we learned from it, & we’ve brought in some new guys who have experience in the league, & I believe we’ll be better.”
The Rapids, 2-2 in the preseason, will scrimmage UNLV at 7 p.m. today at Johann Field. Chivas is 4-0-1. The MLS normal season begins March 2.
“We’re trying to accomplish a couple of things” against Chivas, Pareja said. “We want to donate our 1st team some time together, & we moreover want to take a look at some of our young guys. But with the changes we made, I think we have a team in that will make the playoffs.”
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.