Sebastian Velasquez vs. New England

New York City FC at Colorado Rapids: Match preview

Most people like returning home to their roots to see family and friends and reminisce.

While Jeb Brovsky enjoys going back to Colorado to see his friends and family, he hasn’t been too fond of playing soccer back home.

“It’s always a special time when I go back to Colorado. Being from there, to have those friends and family watch you on that big stage is all you can really dream of as a kid,” said Brovsky, who grew up in Lakewood, Colo. “All of my family and friends are coming – I expect up to 100 people. We’re going to have quite an NYCFC fan base there.

“But I’ve never won going back there with my team to play the Rapids. So this would be a great reward to come away with three points.”

Brovsky looks to break that personal streak as New York City FC (1-0-1; 4 points) play the Colorado Rapids (0-0-1; 1 point) at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday. The match will be televised on the YES Network and can be heard on 970AM and WQBU.

Brovsky, who is with his third expansion club after tenures with Vancouver (2011) and Montreal (2012-14), is 0-3-0 at Colorado.

The Whitecaps lost 2-1 on July 9, 2011, while the Impact lost 3-2 on May 26, 2012 and 4-1 on May 24, 2014.

“Colorado’s a sound team, they’ve always been a sound team,” Brovsky said. “The altitude, the size of the field, everything’s going to be a factor. We need to manage the game from the start. We need to get the crowd out of it as soon as possible with it being their home opener.”

Not only is Saturday’s match a homecoming for Brovsky, rookie forward Khiry Shelton is returning to his old stomping grounds.

Shelton was born in Fort Carson, Colo., before moving to Texas when he was in eighth grade.

“It’s going to be big to go back and see my family and friends,” Shelton said. “I’m excited to know everyone is going to be able to get together. I’ll have quite a few people at the game.”

New York City FC comes into the match on the heels of a 2-0 victory over 2014 MLS Eastern Conference Champion New England in front of 43,507 in the Club’s Historic Home Opener on March 15 at Yankee Stadium.

The Rapids and Philadelphia played to a scoreless draw on March 7 at PPL Park as Colorado was limited to a club-record low two attempts (no shots on target). They were idle this past weekend.

“It’s very important getting off to a good start with it being their home opener,” Shelton said. “It’s a big day for them. More pressure’s on them instead of us. We have to silence the crowd and come away with a win.”

New York City FC traveled to Colorado on Thursday and trained there on Friday in an effort to get acclimated to the higher elevation.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Stadium is located nine miles northeast of downtown Denver, the Mile High City.

“The altitude can play a bit of a factor for sure,” New York City FC head coach Jason Kreis said. “From my experience playing there, the biggest thing I felt was you feel like you have a dry mouth the whole time. You can get a little fatigued in the second half if the tempo of the match is really high.

“I feel us going there a day earlier and training there, we’re putting ourselves in a bit of a better place. It is what it is, though. Everybody has to go there and play games, so we aren’t any different from any other opponent.”

Brovsky, who is certainly familiar to the elevated playing conditions, said it shouldn’t be too much of an issue, though.

“You certainly feel the burn in your lungs from the thinner air,” he said. “At this level and this stage of our fitness it shouldn’t be a big issue. Maybe during preseason it’s a definite climb when you’re sitting for two months and go right into it, but now the guys are ready and fit.”

Coverage on YES Network begins at 3:30 p.m. ET. Be sure to join the conversation online by following @NYCFC on Twitter and using #NYCFC.