Colorado's Smith glad to be earning minutes
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Jamie Smith’s world is looking up these days.
The Scottish midfielder had his first run out in several
weeks for the Colorado Rapids in Saturday’s win over Columbus, and his family
arrives in the U.S. for the summer next week [WATCH: HIGHLIGHTS: COL 1, CLB, 0].
It’s been an uneven road for Smith since he joined the
Rapids last season. He suffered a season-ending injury last year, and this
season has been a stop-and-start one with a persistent hamstring injury.
That’s why Saturday’s cameo performance as a second-half
substitute was so welcome for the 29-year-old. It helped that he showed some
very nice touches, most notably when his perfect freekick led to Drew Moor’s 85th
minute winning goal.
“From a personal point of view, it’s great to be back
involved with the team,” he said after the game. “The most important thing was
that we won the game and got the three points. I just put the ball in the area.
It was a fantastic header from Drew; he showed great commitment there.”
Minutes before, Smith also showed a deft touch when playing
a sweet pass to Wells Thompson in the penalty area. Thompson did very well to
hook the ball back to an onrushing Omar Cummings, who grazed the post with his
shot. It was the type of move that head coach Gary Smith knows may have been
missing more often than not with his namesake absent from the line-up.
“He’s been out a long time and we are so pleased to have him
back,” Smith said after the game Saturday. “It’s a few minutes under his belt
that we can build on maybe Wednesday. He can have such an impact on a game like
that that it’s been difficult to have him out of the team.”
Smith felt that the introductions of Thompson and Smith were
much needed at the weekend to inject some pace into an attack that wasn’t quite
clicking. Conor Casey was surprisingly withdrawn in the 64th minute
for Thompson. Smith came on later for Mehdi Ballouchy.
What will please Gary Smith the most is that he has a full
set of options for his wide play for the midweek game against Chicago. With
Pablo Mastroeni out following his red card at the weekend, it could even mean a
start for Jamie Smith, with Ballouchy possibly slipping back into central
The Rapids face the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park June 9 with
kick off scheduled for 8.30pm ET. It will be the Rapids’ final game before the
World Cup break.