COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Andy Lorei netted a beautiful equalizer in Tuesday’s scrimmage between the Colorado Rapids and the University of Denver. Having beaten a couple of players and cutting inside, the 21-year-old Rapids trialist buried a left-footed shot from the edge of the area to tie the game.
It could be Lorei’s last action in a Rapids shirt. Such is the uncertainty of the life of an MLS trialist. The former Rochester Rhinos player has been training with the Rapids since February and even traveled to London for the club’s preseason trip to sister club Arsenal.
But roster spots are not easy to come by and Lorei said after the game that he’ll likely be on his way to a USL team such as Tampa or Austin within the next week.
“It’s been awesome,” the tall midfielder told MLSsoccer.com. “The facilities are so nice and this has been a real step up. It’s a much better level and I think I’ve improved a lot. It’s perfect preparation for the next move.”
In Rapids head coach Gary Smith’s opinion, Lorei has a very good creative edge and that playing in the USL would be perfect for his development.
“We’ll keep him monitored and keep him under our umbrella as he is one we would potentially like to have involved,” Smith said.
The scrimmage against a strong DU side also gave an opportunity to, among others, local product Collin Audley. The captain of the Denver team last year has been training with the Rapids in recent weeks as he seeks to combine finishing his studies and furthering his soccer career.
Audley, a versatile midfielder from Fort Collins, Colo., doesn’t know what his experience with the Rapids will eventually lead to, but is grateful for the chance to have the opportunity to train with professional players he would like to emulate.
“It’s a good situation for me and I’m not asking too many questions,” Audley said after training last week. “Playing with these guys, it can’t get much better than that. The technical ability is what stands out -- everybody out here is very technical -- and the speed of play. Everything’s faster, it’s much harder, stronger, quicker.”
The 22-year-old saw action against his former DU teammates before being substituted during the second half. Another guest, Nick Cardenas, scored the Rapids first goal on a header off a corner kick.
Roster players involved in the game were Steward Ceus, Scott Palguta, Mike Holody, Ross LaBaeux, Oscar Murillo and Andre Akpan. Akpan netted the winner in the final minutes as the Rapids fought back from 2-0 down to win 3-2, all the goals coming in the second half.
Smith said it was a useful game to both give a chance to youngsters like Lorei and Audley as well as give more senior players a chance to come back from injury in a competitive game. Palguta, for example, has been battling injury and has played little during the preseason, as well as only turning out as a late-game sub in the opener at Chivas USA.
The defeat was more disappointing for DU head coach Bobby Muuss than the victory was sweet for Smith.
“You have to be proud of them but, whenever you find yourself up 2-0, you have to find a way to get a win,” Muuss said.
The University will be dedicating its brand new soccer stadium April 17 when the team will play Fort Lewis College. Tickets ranging from $4 to $8 are available at 303-871-3923 or by e-mailing assistant coach Adam Buseck at firstname.lastname@example.org.