COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — When he joined the Rapids earlier this month, Quincy Amarikawa said he wanted to be adopted by the fans in Colorado just as he had been by the fans in San Jose. He hoped his work ethic and bustling play would go down as well with Rapids fans as they had in Northern California.
In about the 73rd minute of Sunday’s home game against Toronto, just after Colorado had regained the lead through Jeff Larentowicz’s free kick, Amarikawa got his wish. After a typical scurry for the ball as two Toronto players tried to avoid him by passing it back and forth, Amarikawa successfully got a touch on it and disrupted the play. A huge cheer followed in the home terraces.
“I noticed that; they were pretty happy with me running out there,” Amarikawa said after the game. “That’s how I play. I enjoyed it.”
The 22-year-old came on in the 67th minute of Sunday’s game to replace Colin Clark. He also enjoyed a 10-minute spell against Kansas City in league play on April 10 and then played a full 90 against the same team in the U.S. Open Cup.
Amarikawa did manage a couple of shots on goal in the Toronto game but acknowledges he has to play more minutes to begin to relax and feel a part of the team.
“My brain was running 100 miles an hour out there,” he said. “That will come. I’ll settle in as I play a little bit more.”
Clearly, Amarikawa’s playing time will be limited by the presence of Omar Cummings and Conor Casey, who have notched five of Colorado’s six MLS goals so far this season. But he can carve out a niche for himself as an impact player off the bench and, as a result, can distinguish himself from teammate Andre Akpan, whom head coach Gary Smith sees more as a target player able to hold up the ball.
Smith is happy with Amarikawa’s efforts and tenacity so far even if he knows the youngster still has some way to go to get where both he and the coach wants him.
“He’s all energy, he’s boisterous and he’s enthusiastic,” Smith said. “I thought he raised the team as well as the fans. I noticed the difference in the personality of the crowd. Can he be a little more cultured in front of goal? Definitely. But he brought us something that was needed. He improved the tempo.”