Vicente Sanchez hugged
Garrett W. Ellwood/Colorado Rapids

Vicente Sánchez returns after injury layoff

Not only did the Rapids romp into round five of the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday night, but they also welcomed back the talismanic talent that is Vicente Sánchez, who has missed the best part of six weeks due to a sprained knee.

He played the final 26 minutes of Colorado’s 5-2 victory over Orlando City SC. The forward, who has five goals in MLS this season, had an assist on the Rapids’ final goal of the night. For Sánchez, the match was an opportunity to work back to full health, all while the team moved closer to winning a trophy.

“I’m happy, glad to be getting minutes again with the team,” said Sánchez after the match. “Very happy as well that the team won, that was the most important thing. Now I’m just hoping to keep getting better, to be at 100% with my teammates.”

The forward, who scored four goals on penalties in the opening three matches of the league schedule, was injured in the first half of the Rapids’ May 3 win over LA Galaxy. Despite spraining his knee early in the game, Sánchez managed to score his fifth goal on a brilliant chip before leaving the game at the half. He was then diagnosed with a sprain, and Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni took his time in returning Sánchez to the field.

With MLS on a break during the World Cup group stage, the U.S. Open Cup match gave Sánchez a platform to stage his return – but also a chance for the Rapids to earn some silverware.

“Every trophy is important, and every official match that can get you a trophy, you have to give 100%,” said Sánchez. “I think there is a lot of respect for this trophy. It’s an important Cup, and it’s a Cup that we want to win.”

While the scoreline indicated a romp for the Rapids, Sánchez cited his team’s performance as the difference, rather than a gap in quality.

“It was a tough match, and our opponent played good soccer. Deshorn had a great night, but there were other teammates that also had great nights. I think that as a collective team we played well. Now we have to get back to work to prepare for the next match.”

Next up for Colorado is another game in the Open Cup, as the club faces the Atlanta Silverbacks on Tuesday, June 24 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (TICKETS). Sánchez sees a great opportunity, for both him and the club.

“First, to get more minutes, after my injury, and also, that the team wins,” said Sánchez, about his personal goals for the game. “It’s good to have another match to get more rhythm for when the regular season starts up again. We’re very happy to be playing for this trophy, and hopefully we can do things well.”