Jeff Larentowicz ready to view Fire/Revs rivalry from other side

Larentowicz: "Players have changed but games conjure up memories"

As Jeff Larentowicz looks around the Toyota Park tunnel Saturday night, the sight of Matt Reis, Jay Heaps and a lot of navy blue should serve to bring back a few memories.

In his first appearance at Toyota Park as a member of the Fire, Larentowicz seems likely to lead the Men in Red onto the pitch against his former team -- one that he fought in a number of tense matches with against the Fire.

TICKETS: Fire vs. Revolution

It has of course been three seasons since Larentowicz donned a Revs kit. He’s faced New England a few times in that span and of course, won an MLS Cup in 2010 with the Colorado Rapids.

“For me I’ve played New England in the past since leaving but you recognize this is a new opportunity and obviously I’m back a part of this rivalry and viewing it from the other side. Many players have changed but the games will still conjure up memories of the past.”

Six postseason meetings in seven years will do that.

“Years of playing each other in the playoffs home and away, Andy Herron going after the linesman in 2005, a shootout win in 2006, the games we lost here at Toyota Park in 2008 and 2009.

"When it became a two-game conference series it just enhanced it. Both teams were good for a long time and inevitably good teams meet in those situations.”

That’s all in the past and Larentowicz is now a Fire player.

The nine-year MLS veteran began taking on a leadership role for his new team in preseason and earned so much respect from his teammates and coaching staff that he was given the captain’s armband on Sunday to wear in Logan Pause’s absence.

“Logan is the team captain, he’s our leader,” said Larentowicz. “Unfortunately right now he’s not healthy. We look forward to him getting back but in his absence I’m ready to step up. I have the experience, I’ve played in this league and I understand what it takes to win games. 

“It is a privilege and an honor and as long as I’m asked to do it I’m willing.”