Pickens feeling refreshed after offseason break

Goalkeeper and team MVP took offseason to rest, prepare for start of preseason

Matt Pickens came back to Colorado weighing 15 pounds less then when he left last fall, that a result of an offseason running program that allowed him to fully recover from the aches that caused him to miss the final two matches of 2012.

"I feel refreshed. It was a good couple of months off," Pickens said after the team's Wednesday morning session. "Now we're back here banging out some session on the turf and just ready to get back to work and get back into the routine of things."

Pickens had an outstanding season last year, setting various new team goalkeeping records. His efforts were recognized by his teammates as they voted him the team's Most Valuable Player and by the club's supporters when they named him the Fan Favorite Award winner.

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The veteran goalkeeper missed the final two games with a strained groin, but used the offseason to recover and relax. He and his family went to France to visit his wife's family and then to Florida to rest before coming back to Colorado early last week.

"I'm getting back into the rhythm and schedule of things, and it's been going good for me." he said. "I feel great."

Pickens and the rest of the team have a much shorter window to prepare for the first game this time around then in previous years. On Sunday the Rapids depart for Arizona to play their first three preseason games next week, which will be less than five weeks from the 2013 season opener.

"I think all around it's good," Pickens said of the shorter preseason. "Sometimes these preseasons can drag on and on, and what we want to do is, we want to play. Obviously we want to be prepared as well, and we need that time to do that. But as long as the scheduling is right and we have games to play in preseason, we should be ready come March 2."

The team kicks off the new campain at FC Dallas on March 2 before returning to Colorado to host Philadelphia on March 9.