Commerce City, Colo. - You have to give Jamie Smith credit for having a good sense of humor. It's been a tough year on the field for the Scotsman.
After returning from a torn ACL in late June, first-team minutes have been hard to come by for the veteran midfielder. Going into last Sunday's match at Vancouver, Smith had played only 26 minutes in his previous nine matches.
And, not long after coming on for Martin Rivero against the Whitecaps, Smith stepped up to take a corner kick and his feet came right from under him on the synthetic turf.
"I'd been on the field for 5-10 minutes and I think I slipped 3-4 times before the corner," Smith told ColoradoRapids.com Wednesday. "My plant foot slipped from underneath me, and time kind of slowed down at that point. I heard every shout from every spectator in the stands."
He barely made contact with the ball, sending it out of bounds with a shank that stood out mostly because of how well Smith typically crosses the ball. He sensed the TV camera's were likely on him as he jogged back to position.
"I thought, 'don't look disappointed, don't smile, just keep my face straight," he recalled with a laugh. "Of course they replayed it on the big screen in the stadium, so the fans got another look at it."
Smith got his redemption with four minutes left by taking advantage of a defensive error and scoring to take three points away from home and bring the Rapids even at 2-2.
"Getting the goal was nice," he said. "Most importantly it was good to get the point, and maybe silence some of the people who were laughing at me a little bit."
Now in his fouth season with the club, Smith has kept his head up despite the lack of playing time.
"I'm no different from any other player on the team," he said. "Everybody wants to play. We all want minutes on the field, but obviously it's impossible for everyone to play all the time. I try to focus on doing the correct things and working hard."
And his teammates have helped, as well.
"When we got back to the locker room after the game, I said to the guys, 'if you have anything to say, just get it over with," he said, expecting some ribbing for his slip.
So did anyone say anything?
"Oh yea, everyone!"