The Rapids, and the rest of MLS, resume matches this coming Saturday. The 2 week World Cup break allowed teams to rest players, regroup, and bring in some trialists. The Rapids are no exception. Plenty of new faces have come through the Rapids training in the last two weeks, including trialists, academy players, and a few college players on summer break.
- Kosuke Kimura is training and moving well. No word yet if he will be available for this weekend.
- Forward Ross Schunk is progressing well from his knee injury. He started running straight lines this week.
- Oscar Murillo is no longer with the group. From what I understand, his loan is over and the Rapids didn’t pick up his option. He is back with his club team in Colombia.
- Jamie Smith was moving well and it looks like his injury problems are behind him. Jamie could break into the starting 11 against Houston.
- I’m starting to wonder if Claudio Lopez has anything left in the tank. He hasn’t shown drastic improvement in the last few weeks. But then again, I don’t see him train every day.
- Andre Akpan is on loan with Real Maryland in the USL Division 2. He will return to the Rapids on July 3. Akpan needed more playing time and this was an opportunity to get him some minutes.
- Danish defender Ulrich Lindquist (spelling?) is on trial with the Rapids. Looked solid, trained primarily with the first team.
- Julian Baudet is struggling with a hamstring injury, but looked very agile when he dipped and ducked reporter’s questions on France’s early exit from the World Cup. In the end, Baudet answered every question.
- Scott Palguta should get the start alongside Drew Moor this weekend.
- Ciaran O’brien was not at training.
- Apparently the players are having a good laugh at the expense of Baudet and the French team. On the flip side, none of the players have said anything to Coach Smith about the US v. England match. A wise decision.
- The Colorado Rapids visit the Houston Dynamo on Saturday June 26 at 6:30pm.
- The US Men’s National Team faces Ghana in the round of the 16 on Saturday June 26 at 12:30pm.
Coach Smith on Jamie Smith, adding a defender, and the trialist:
On Jaime Smith starting against Houston:
“It will be pretty close, I mean the Columbus free kick, the cross for Conor, there have been some creative moments that have earned us points, in fact four points. He’s looking fit, he’s looking strong, and he’s looking healthy. He’s one of four guys, and that includes Omar, who are fighting for those outside slots. The important thing now is that the form players get the chance and when games aren’t going quite as well as we might like, we’ve not only got fresh legs, we’ve got fresh quality legs coming on, and that’s a big improvement on even last year.”
Adding a defender:
“We’ve certainly looked at a couple of other bodies. If you look at our defensive record, which is the second best in the league at the moment, we’ve only conceded nine goals, which is a fabulous tally. A testament not only to Matt [Pickens] and the back four, but a lot of hard work in front of them. I’m pleased with what I’m seeing with the guys we’ve got, but I’m also very mindful we are thin on the ground with defenders. We’ll probably need to add one. It will be important when that window opens, that we are close to maybe adding a character that can continue our improvement and certainly in depth.”
On the Danish trialist:
“We have a guy with us at the moment Ulrich Lindquist (spelling?) who is from Denmark, who has done ever so well. Whether or not we can come to any sort of terms, or whether or not the guy actually wants to come here, or indeed that in the end of the period of with us I want to keep him. We need to add a defender somewhere along the way now. Hopefully that is sooner rather than later.”