Amarikawa joins the ranks with Rapids

San Jose trade puts youngster behind Cummings, Casey

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Quincy Amarikawa landed in Denver from California at 9:30 a.m. local time on Friday morning, kicking off one of the longest days of the 22 year-old’s brief soccer career.

The newest Colorado Rapids forward was traded from San Jose on Wednesday and worked out with the club for the first time Friday, then returned to the airport to join the club on its flight to Kansas City.

The Rapids put their unbeaten record on the line against the Wizards on Saturday night.

Amarikawa is unlikely to walk into a starting line-up that possesses two of the league’s better forwards in Omar Cummings and Conor Casey. But after a stint with San Jose that saw him gradually fall down the pecking order before he was shipped out of town, he’s content to know where he stands in Denver.

“In some ways, it’s better to know your role rather than be kept dangling,” he said. “The San Jose coaching staff wanted to get in more veteran players. I am looking forward to learning from (Casey and Cummings).”

Though he’s not a projected starter now, he could get a shot up top this summer. With Casey possibly going off to the World Cup and the potential injuries that usually befall teams during the season, there will be opportunities.

“I’m really competitive and I think I work really hard,” Amarikawa said. “I don’t care if we are down 10-0 or up 3-0, I just love to play.”

Just how much he will play remains to be seen, but he appears to be a genuine option off the bench in Kansas City and beyond.

Fellow new signing, Claudio Lopez, with whom Amarikawa trained today, could end up playing together with Amarikawa for some part of Tuesday’s U.S. Open Cup game against Kansas City. Rapids coach Gary Smith has said that Lopez could play a role for half an hour or so against his old team next week.

Lopez did not travel with the team Friday as his visa processing continues and as he battles back to match fitness.