Cummings looks set for first Rapids start in two months

Omar Cummings celebrates.

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Omar Cummings is prepared to get his first start since May 4 on Sunday when the Colorado Rapids host the Houston Dynamo (9 pm ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes).

“Ready or not, I’m going to play,” Cummings told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “I’m hoping to go the full 90, at least get the start and go from there.”

The Jamaican striker last started when the Rapids ran out 2-1 winners in Houston nearly two months ago. Cummings left that game towards the end of the first half with a badly sprained ankle, an injury that has restricted his appearances since to just two second-half outings in Colorado’s last two games.

The season had started off with promise for Cummings. Coming off the back of an offseason trial with English Premier League club Aston Villa, the striker scored some early goals and was looking forward to building on his fruitful 2010 partnership with Conor Casey.

Fast-forward a few months and things haven’t quite gone to plan. The Casey-Cummings partnership barely has gotten off the ground, as both players have spent time sidelined during a stretch that has seen several Rapids out injured.

“It’s been a little frustrating to not have your full-strength team for probably the entire season,” Cummings said. “From me getting injured, Conor getting injured, Caleb [Folan] getting injured, Quincy [Amarikwa] getting injured, Jamie Smith getting injured, guys going in and out, it’s a little bit frustrating. You are just hoping for that time when you can have the team gel together and do the best with what we have. Then, there can be no excuses. We are hoping for that one of these days.”

A close to full-strength team — minus Casey, who will sit out with a red-card suspension — may be available for the Rapids this weekend.

With Casey absent, Cummings may well start up top with Folan, who was also sent off in his last game against the LA Galaxy. Cummings hasn’t played much with the big Irish international this season, but he’s hoping they can start to gel on Sunday with a partner he sees as similar to Casey.

“Both of them are big guys, very aggressive in the air and good with the ball at their feet,” he said. “Every player has their different qualities and you just try to work to their advantages. You have to see where their strengths are and try and build that partnership to push each other even harder. Eventually, you get that partnership going.”

A win this weekend is increasingly vital for the Rapids, who have suffered two disappointing defeats in a row at the hands of the Galaxy and the Columbus Crew and face a busy July. Cummings isn’t too worried about those losses but knows things have to turn around soon.

 “Those games make you reflect that you do need to step up,” he said. “You do need to do better, especially here at home. I don’t think we have shown our full character. It’s one of those things where you just have to brush it off and go again.”