In his first competition back in a Colorado kit, Homegrown midfielder Cole Bassett gave Rapids fans a sneak peek into what they can expect from his homecoming this season as he recorded an early brace against Mineros FC.
“It's still preseason, so there's a long way to go,” Bassett said after the scrimmage. “I'm happy to get off the mark for this year with a couple goals. It's always nice to get some in the preseason and then hopefully it leads into many in the regular season.”
Bassett bagged the first two goals of the game to get the Rapids off to a running start against Los Mineros. The midfielder first pounced on a ball doled out from Mineros’ goalkeeper to put the Rapids up by one, then doubled his tally just minutes later when he collected a neat pass from winger Braian Galván and found the back of the net.
Bassett returns to Colorado almost as a new player, integrating himself into the fold for a second time despite growing up with the Rapids. His elevated play makes him doubly dangerous in the attack after training and competing overseas.
“It’s very exciting, very exciting,” said Rapids head coach Robin Fraser of having Bassett back in the lineup. “Cole is relentless in terms of pressuring, and he's very good in front of a goal as evidenced by his goals today.”
The Homegrown echoes Fraser’s sentiments based on how he saw himself grow while on loan with Feyenoord and Fortuna Sittard.
“I think I have that experience now that I've gone to Europe,” he said. “I see the quality that you need to have on the ball, the calmness, and now coming back, I think I can help certain guys maintain that and also build it throughout the game and just know that we can pin teams. I think we have the quality on the ball and I think we need to control more of the attack and not just be up and down.”
Getting back into the rhythm of the team off the pitch has been easy for Bassett, even as he returns to a team with multiple new faces. Recent additions like Calvin Harris match the Homegrown in age, while getting to know Kévin Cabral, Moise Bombito and Ralph Priso means an exposure to the French language, adding yet even more international vocabulary to his repertoire after picking up some Dutch in the Netherlands.
“There haven't been too many new faces, but the ones that have come in, it's been fun,” he said. “And then there's other guys that will be coming as well and we're excited about that just for competition and push the places because for all of us, I think it's better if we have competition and we're having to perform at a top level every single day. So I'm excited about that. Glad to be back with the group.”
The Rapids Homegrown returned to Colorado from Europe with a renewed sense of urgency and intensity to his game, tools that are gradually coming back into his play as the preseason continues. The combination of time off, the playing style of opponents faced in preseason and Colorado acclimating to both new and returning faces on the pitch makes the journey back to full intensity a tougher one, but one that Bassett welcomes.
“I think I've started to find it and hopefully throughout the regular season I’ll get goals like this and many assists to help the team win, but I think we've got a long way to go,” he said on Tuesday. “We’ve got a good four weeks left of preseason and I think by the end of that, going into Seattle, we'll be ready.”
Postgame Reaction: Cole Bassett - January 24, 2023