Matt Pickens is back.
The team's first choice goalkeeper for the past three and a half seasons played his first match on Friday - a friendly exhibition against Mexico's Santos Laguna - since breaking his arm on March 16. The result was a 2-1 loss in New Mexico, but for the 2012 team MVP, the result was secondary.
"I didn't really care too much about the result," Pickens told ColoradoRapids.com after the match. "I just wanted to go out there and kick a ball around and see opponents, see different things I don't get to see in training. For me personally it was a good run. I enjoyed it - I missed - and it feels good being back out there."
Pickens broke his arm against Real Salt Lake when he came off his line to punch away a cross and colided with an RSL defender. If he felt any butterflies or uncertainty on Friday, the emotions were gone just seconds into the match when he aggressively challenged for a ball in a play similar to that one in March.
"When you're playing you don't think about it too much," Pickens said. "For me, when I get into the game I don't think too much, I just try to react. It was good to get that (play overwith), because after I was settled down a little bit."
Pickens couldn't be blamed for either Santos goal, which came on a nice finish from one forward and a breakaway in the second half. Despite the loss, the 'keeper was happy with the play of his teammates.
"We had a good, professional attitude going this game," Pickens said. "For the guys that don't get first-team minutes this was a good run against a quality opponent. I think the guys showed up and they played. We put in a good effort tonight."