Things are starting to take shape for the Rapids in 2012.
Due to injuries and new management much of the team’s starting XI was unfamiliar to fans. The style of play was inconsistent, switching back and forth between a 4-3-3 and the classic 4-4-2. They were unsuccessful when using different forwards in hopes finding a replacement for the injured dynamic duo, Omar Cummings and Conor Casey.
The frustration turned to elation on Saturday night, as Cummings and Casey were both back from injury and able to take the field together for the first time since July 2011.
“Just having those two back,” shares captain Drew Moor, “you feel like you are able to maintain possession a little bit more, which always helps the defense. Conor is a big strong guy; great target holds the ball up well. He brings his teammates into the game. Omar did a great job occupying their defenders. Those two are a dangerous combination. They proved it tonight.”
In previous matches, Casey and Cummings normally subbed in for each other, but had yet to play at the same time. One without the other is like the Rocky Mountains without a sunset, both are nice to look at, but put them together, and you have a masterpiece.
“It was awesome to be on the field together with him (Omar) after such a long time,” affirms Conor Casey. “Still working the kinks out a little bit, obviously, with our first game and all, but to get three points, and both of us get 60-65 minutes together is huge for us.”
Along with the dynamic duo, Scotsman Jamie Smith made a return after tearing his ACL in August 2011. His late goal contribution gave the Rapids their thrilling 3-0 win over the struggling Portland Timbers.
“It was good to get some minutes,” Smith said. “I thought it was a strong team performance. I thought we dominated the whole game. Just to get on the field and to get a late goal was really nice. I enjoyed it.”
Head coach Oscar Pareja especially enjoyed his view Saturday night’s match.
“The sensation of when you score three goals at home,” describes Pareja, “and you see players come in, like Conor, like Jamie Smith, and Omar, then you start seeing that you have a stronger structure plus the guys that have been doing the job when they were out, you may rate it as one of the best games. Usually, we as coaches, our jobs sometimes is not to say to myself those are good things, but see where we can get better, but today was a magic night.”
Follow GOAL.COM USA on