COMMERCE CITY, Colo.- In training this week, Colorado Rapids forward Jaime Castrillon channeled his inner Nostradamus. He told his head coach, Oscar Pareja, that he’d score if he were given a chance to play. On Saturday night, Castrillon delivered on his word.
In the Rapids’ 2-2 draw against arch-nemesis Real Salt Lake, Castrillon’s 70th minute header not only earned the Rapids a share of the points, but it proved to be the difference in Colorado re-claiming the Rocky Mountain Cup for the first time in seven years.
“[Castrillon] called it,” Pareja said of Castrillon’s goal. “He told me, ‘I’m going to score this Saturday.’ He said that because he said, ‘I want to fight for this team, I feel ready.’ He told me a few times this week, ‘I’m going to score on Saturday the winning goal.’ And he did score. It was great.”
It’s been a trying season for Castrillon, to say the least. Forced away from the pitch for the first four months of the season due to a knee injury, the 30-year-old Colombian found himself on the bench upon his return to the field, despite leading the Rapids in goals (eight) and logging the sixth-most minutes (2,417) on the team last year. In the meantime, persistent rumors have linked Castrillon with a move back to his native Colombia.
But Saturday night, Castrillon not only made good on his promise from earlier in the week, but he chose the perfect time to record his first goal of the season.
With Colorado trailing 2-1 at the half, Castrillon came on as a halftime substitute to provide his team with an offensive jolt. The former Independiente Medellin playmaker charged down into the heart of the penalty box and met Chris Klute’s cross for an unstoppable header and his first goal since last September.
“Yes, glory goes to God because I had the confidence of my teammates, and in a difficult match – a “Clásico.” Castrillon said after the match. “We say in Colombia that you can’t lose a Clásico. We rescued a point, the Cup stays here at home, and now it’s back to work. For my part, I worked hard to get back and to score more goals for the Colorado Rapids.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.