Earlier this week Colorado Rapids midfielder Martin Rivero played 90 minutes in a Reserve League match against Vancouver at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. It was the first time he completed a full match in over six months.
"I felt good," Rivero told ColoradoRapids.com before departing for Columbus, where the Rapids will take on the Crew on Saturday. "I was happy because I was able to play the entire game. I was very involved and physically I felt very good. So I'm continuing trying to improve and gain rhythm."
Rivero last played a complete game on October 27, 2012. He has recently returned from a broken foot that he suffered in the first preseason game in late January, coming on as a second half substitute in the team's draw at Houston and win over Toronto.
"I've felt better after each time out," he said of his fitness. "I think I'm ready to go from the start of the game."
It won't be that easy for 23-year-old attacking midfielder, who led the team in assists last year.
Coach Oscar Pareja has made it clear that players returning from absences will need to win their positions back, something Rivero said is normal in sports.
"Obviously," Rivero said. "I've always tried to win my spot, and this time won't be an exception. I think wherever you are you have to win your spot. So for me it's about working hard during the week and demostrating that I can help the team from the beginning."