Commerce City, Colo. - Midfielder Jamie Smith took his biggest steps to returning from ACL surgery on Wednesday when he played in his first match since the injury he suffered last fall. The Scotsman started and played 63 minutes in the Reserve League draw against Houston on the Rapids training field at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
"Fortunately the knee felt grea, that was the main thing," Smith told ColoradoRapids.com afterwards. "Physically - breathing and match fitness - I felt really good. The coaches said to go for 60 minutes, so we did that and everything felt really good. I'm just trying to get back up to speed again."
It didn't take long for Smith to contribute. About 15 minutes in, Smith weaved through three Dynamo players from the left side of midfield and took a shot that went across the goal mouth, which he said he should have done better with. Then in 23rd, his corner kick was met at the near post by forward, Edu, who headed it down and into the goal for the 1-0 lead.
"It was fantastic for Jamie to come back after such a long period," said Reserve coach Wilmer Cabrera. "We didn't want to play him more than 65 minutes because it could be a little dangerous, he could pull a muscle or something. For him, it was about getting him match fit, and little by little getting him ready to play."
Smith has been on the disable list since the start of the year, but is clearly nearing a return to availability and consideration. He also said he's close to receiving his U.S. residency, which would free up his International player slot.
When either of those two pieces happen is out of his control. Today it was about getting back in the action.
"I'm just trying to get used to getting back involved and getting my touch and feet working properly," Smith said. "Of course there's room for improvement, but I felt pretty good."