Amarikwa hopes Colorado embraces him the way SJ did
When he joined the Rapids earlier this month, Quincy Amarikwa said he wanted to be adopted by the fans in Colorado just as he had
been by the fans in San Jose. He hoped his work ethic and bustling play would
go down as well with Rapids fans as they had in Northern California.
In about the 73rd minute of Sunday’s home game against
Toronto, just after Colorado had regained the lead through Jeff Larentowicz’s
free kick, Amarikwa got his wish. After a typical scurry for the ball as two
Toronto players tried to avoid him by passing it back and forth, Amarikwa
successfully got a touch on it and disrupted the play. A huge cheer followed in
the home terraces.
“I noticed that; they were pretty happy with me running out
there,” Amarikwa said after the game. “That’s how I play. I enjoyed it.”
The 22-year-old came on in the 67th minute of Sunday’s game
to replace Colin Clark. He also enjoyed a 10-minute spell against Kansas City
in league play on April 10 and then played a full 90 against the same team in
the U.S. Open Cup.
Amarikwa did manage a couple of shots on goal in the
Toronto game but acknowledges he has to play more minutes to begin to relax and
feel a part of the team.
“My brain was
running 100 miles an hour out there,” he said. “That will come. I’ll settle in
as I play a little bit more.”
Clearly, Amarikwa’s playing time will be limited by the
presence of Omar Cummings and Conor Casey, who have notched five of Colorado’s
six MLS goals so far this season. But he can carve out a niche for himself as
an impact player off the bench and, as a result, can distinguish himself from
teammate Andre Akpan, whom head coach Gary Smith sees more as a target player
able to hold up the ball.
Smith is happy with Amarikwa’s efforts and tenacity so far even
if he knows the youngster still has some way to go to get where both he and the
coach wants him.
“He’s all energy, he’s boisterous and he’s enthusiastic,”
Smith said. “I thought he raised the team as well as the fans. I noticed the
difference in the personality of the crowd. Can he be a little more cultured in
front of goal? Definitely. But he brought us something that was needed. He
improved the tempo.”