LA game presents Cummings with redemption opportunity

Rapids striker could benefit from the focus on Casey v. Buddle

Omar Cummings, Colorado

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Much of the focus in Wednesday’s Colorado Rapids-LA Galaxy game will be on the battle between Conor Casey and Edson Buddle, both of whom are trying to make a last-minute impression on U.S. coach Bob Bradley. That distraction suits Omar Cummings just fine.

The Rapids striker is coming off his least impressive performance of the season last weekend against San Jose, and he is struggling to put it behind him. (Watch SJ-COL highlights here.)

“It was a really bad game for me,” he admitted to MLSsoccer.com. “I couldn’t get the ball from under my feet and made some bad decisions. It has been difficult to get it out of my system.”

Head coach Gary Smith substituted Cummings in the second half and later acknowledged that the 27-year-old Jamaican played poorly at the weekend. For the Rapids to succeed, he needs Cummings, who was among the league’s top assist getters last year, to be a creative catalyst in the attack.

“Players that we look towards for creativity were just a little bit below par,” Smith said about the San Jose game. “But Omar has been incredibly positive for us.”

With all the soul-searching, Wednesday’s Cinco de Mayo fiesta against the LA Galaxy is turning out to be an early marker of just how the Western Conference may shake out this season. The league-leading Galaxy present the biggest test for the Rapids so far, while Colorado, still full of potential, need to make some kind of a statement if they are to live up to the early hype as possible trophy contenders.

And while Casey and Buddle fight it out ahead of the May 11 announcement of the preliminary U.S. World Cup squad, Cummings will be fighting simply to get Colorado three points. He could be deployed wider on the right, where he has played the last two games, or in a more central role. Either way, it has to be an improvement on last weekend’s performance.

“I just hope tomorrow I will have a better game,” he said at training on Tuesday.