The Champions League Dream Is Still Alive
Last nights 3-1 win has us believing the Rapids can advance again
Richard Bamber
Sep 29th 2011

Ok, let’s all admit it. With the news that a lot of first team players & coach Smith were not even boarding the plane to El Salvador, absolutely nobody gave the Rapids much of a chance away to Isidro Metapán last night. Even the TV stations were just as disinterested, leaving internet streaming as the only option for those who still cared enough to want to watch the game live. But for those that turned up at the Bulldog, this match yielded a rare gem & fully rewarded the die-hard fans present. It was one of those games that reminded us why we support the team through thick & thin; even when it seems that the supporters are the only people who still care.

So today, after the Rapids [Reserves!] 3-1 win coupled with Real España & Santos Laguna drawing 1-1, we have a Group B table that looks a lot better with all the teams having one more group game to play:

Club G W L D GF GA GD Pts.
Santos Laguna (MEX) 5 3 1 1 14 6 +8 10
Colorado Rapids (USA) 5 2 2 1 9 10 -1 7
Isidro Metapán (SLV) 5 2 3 0 7 13 -6 6
Real España (HON) 5 1 2 2 7 8 -1 5

The big thing to remember here is that as this is an international competition, CONCACAF Champions League Regulation 2.3 says that in the event of two teams being tied on points, then the points (i.e. results) between the teams concerned will decide positions. So if we are tied on points with Metapán our two wins will put us above them. If we are tied on points with Real España then the away draw & home defeat against them will mean that they are put above us.

So this leaves our final game away to Santos on October 19th. Clearly a win will give us the three points needed to wrap up 2nd place & advance to the quarterfinals next March. As goal difference & then away goals are then counted between the teams tied in the standings on points, a 4-0 or 5-2 win in Mexico would see the Rapids win the group.

So before a load of you write in and accuse me of dreaming, consider that the two days after playing the Rapids, Santos Laguna are away to Estudiantes Tecos in the Mexican league on Friday October 21st. This game will be key to Santos’s hopes of qualifying for the Mexican play-offs in the ‘Apertura’ (1st Half of Season Championship). What price Santos, with CCL quarterfinal qualification assured, decide to rest a few players & put out a weakened side against us?

Of course the Rapids may choose to do it the hard way & only get a draw against Santos. This really is no better than a loss as 8 points in the standings would allow the winner of Metapán v Real España on Thursday October 20th to pass us (Real España would gain the advantage as their record against us is better). We pretty much would be crossing our fingers & hoping for a draw in that fixture.

So against Santos it’s a case ‘win & we are in’, a thrashing would see the Rapids top the group and anything else would see us back to the bars the following evening hoping for a draw in the other Group B fixture. Santos Laguna v Rapids is at 6pm MT on Wed Oct 19th, while Metapán v Real España is at 6pm MT a day later on Thurs Oct 20th. Both these games will be on live TV so you will be able to catch the games at the Bulldog, Three Lions, McCabes Tavern & other good spots.

You never know, the Rapids may just do this!

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