Kandji's goal: Be ready to play next week

Injured forward saw first competitive action since tearing ACL last November

Kandji training on July 14, 2011_DL

Photo Credit: 
ColoradoRapids.com

Commerce City, Colo. (July 14, 2011) - Wednesday was another breakthrough day for forward Mac Kandji. He played 30 minutes of an afternoon scrimmage against invited college players. It was his first competitive action since tearing his ACL in the MLS Cup final last November, which required offseason surgery and now eight months of rehabilitation.

"It went very well," Kandji said. "Just to run out, and have everything feel good, and there was no reaction today. So it was good."

Most of the players who played more minutes in the scrimmage had a regenaration session today, but Kandji was back outside working with the rest of group.

"I played only 30 minutes yesterday and I felt very good this morning," he said. "So (coach) asked me how I was feeling and I said good, so I came out here to do extra stuff."

For Kandji, the extra work is what he says is necessary if he's to reach his goal to be an available option for head coach Gary Smith by the end of next week.

"I feel good right now, just working on my fitness," he said. "(Talking to the trainers), we're working on the game game against New England, probably...Not hopefully, because if I put the work in, it will happen."

The scrimmage was split into three 30-minute periods and included many roster players that have not seen significant first-team time of late as well as college players that have been training under the tutelage of Rapids reserve team coach Brett Jacobs this summer.

"I was really pleased for him," Jacobs said of Kandji's play. "He showed a real spark and a lot of energy and he looks like he really hasn't missed a day. For him to get those minutes is vital for his recovery, to get him back match fit, and to try to get him as sharp as we can."

In the second year of the college program, the Rapids have invited 30 college soccer players - a majority of them from Colorado but that play in out-of-state schools - to evaluate potential future players as well as provide the collegians a professional environment to train under while they are out of school. Also taking part in the scrimmage were Matt Polster, who plays for Rapids partner Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club, and Rapids Academy players Ricardo Perez and Dillon Serna, who was part of the U.S. U-17 team at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico.