Rapids Notebook: Freeman almost back in the mix
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – It’s rare to have the luxury of having a 107-game MLS veteran sitting on your bench. And if what Colorado Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja had to say on Tuesday was any indication, versatile veteran defender Hunter Freeman could be getting significant minutes in the very near future.
“He’s very close,” Pareja said of Freeman, who has his right ankle scoped in February. “Hunter’s surgery delayed him a bit, but after the surgery he’s been at the preseason level. In the past week he’s had two games in the reserves. It’s an option I have [now].”
Freeman played a full 90 minutes in a 1-0 Reserve League victory over Sporting Kansas City on Tuesday, and he’s healthy again after spending the first month of the season returning to game shape. He can play both left and right back and even midfield, which could be useful to Pareja should the Rapids suffer an injury at either of those positions.
Amarikwa still away from team
Reserve striker Quincy Amarikwa remains away in Nigeria tending to an unspecified family matter, but he may be on the move once again when he returns.
“In the next two to three days, we’re going to evaluate what we need, and the [potential] movement of the roster," Pareja said. "We’re waiting for him to come back from Nigeria to speak with him.”
The 24-year-old Amarikwa is still listed on the Rapids roster and has scored one goal in three appearances this season.
Smith stays in Colorado
Veteran midfielder Jamie Smith did not travel with the Rapids to their Reserve League match in Kansas City on Tuesday. Smith is recovering from a torn ACL, and he is in preseason mode as the Rapids look to get his conditioning back to game level.
Smith could challenge for a starting midfield role when he makes his return, which could come within the next two weeks.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.