Defender Moïse Bombito is no stranger to navigating the long and sometimes arduous path to success. The 23-year-old has worked his way from JUCO to MLS in just a few short years. And over the last two weeks, he’s gone from making his MLS debut to earning his first start for the Rapids.
On Wednesday night in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 match against Real Salt Lake, Bombito, wearing No. 64, trotted out with the Starting XI, a major feat considering he is fresh off recovering from an injury.
At the beginning of the season, just before the club’s home opener, Bombito suffered a MCL injury in training and was forced to sit out for more than two months. He was finally available for first-team selection on May 13 against Philadelphia Union, where he was subbed on at the 81st minute for his MLS debut. Days later in a midweek clash at Atlanta, he clocked 30 minutes.
Last night, Bombito recorded a season-high 73 minutes in his first MLS start.
Postgame Reflection | Moïse Bombito on his first start, gaining trust of team
The Canadian credits that jump in playing time to proving himself to the coaching staff and team.
“It's all started with just the work that I had to put in to just come back from injury, then get the trust from the coaches,” Bombito said. “You just have to show them at training. That's the only way for you to prove to everyone that you can play and you can contribute to the team.”
The playing time and experience have been invaluable for Bombito and his improvement. It’s helped him find where he fits best. Against RSL last night, he earned time in a left-back role, different from his normal center-back duties.
“I thought he did really well,” Head Coach Robin Fraser said after Wednesday’s match. “It’s not the easiest thing…as a center-back to jump into an outside backer role, but I thought he handled it really well. You see some of the qualities that make him a little bit different from most center-backs in terms of his comfort level on the ball. He’s got a bright future.”
In his 73 minutes, Bombito had 61 passes with an 84% passing accuracy and was crucial to holding RSL to just one goal on the night. His effort earned him the team’s Man of the Match honors, the first of what’s sure to be many more in his career.
While Bombito is harvesting the fruits of his labor, he knows playing time isn’t promised. It’s something he’ll have to work for week in and week out. But that doesn’t seem to bother him. He’s used to the grind.
When you talk to Bombito, it’s evident that he’s got a hunger for greatness and no obstacle is too big. He’s gone from a JUCO hopeful to a MLS starter in a matter of a few years and there’s no stopping his drive.
“I really started from the bottom, and I just got to remember where I come from and who I represent. That’s really what motivates me.”