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Will the Rapids’ Shot at the Championship Rouse More Soccer Fans?

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The Colorado Rapids are the biggest local story nobody is talking about, but if they continue playing well, Coloradans will have no choice. Thirteen years after their last shot at winning the Major League Soccer Cup, the Rapids will once again play for the championship. They earned the trip to Toronto after posting a 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in front of more than 17,000 freezing fans. Those cold troopers were treated to a defensive battle, but the Rapids’ Kosuke Kimura was able to squeak the lone goal past the San Jose goalkeeper in the 42nd minute. “I’m extremely excited and delighted and a lot of other emotions,” Rapids head coach Gary Smith tells The Denver Post. “But most important, for the players to be rewarded for the very first time for all their endeavors.”

Colorado will take on FC Dallas in Toronto next Saturday for the MLS Cup. The Kansas City Star points out that it’s not the sexiest match-up imaginable, but it’s hard not to respect how both teams made it this far. FC Dallas and the Rapids combined for 24 wins and 24 draws on the season, and both teams are among the handful of MLS teams in 2010 to have logged just single-digit losses.

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Still, it should be a good game for Rapids fans. ColoradoRapids.com notes that the teams have met in the playoffs four times in 15 years, with the Rapids coming out on top each time, although neither team has ever won the championship. The Seattle Times hopes each team’s presence in the MLS Cup will fuel more interest in professional soccer in Colorado and Dallas, two areas that have had trouble filling their stadiums.

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