Cummings bids goodbye to Rapids after "surprise" trade

Omar Cummings is happy

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DENVER – It was a fitting final goodbye for Omar Cummings, but the former Rapids striker is looking forward to the opportunity to say hello to a featured role with his new team, the Houston Dynamo.

On Sunday, a crowd of about 50 Rapids fans held a send-off party for the popular Cummings, who was traded on Dec. 23 from Colorado to Houston in exchange for Nathan Sturgis and allocation money. The fans at Denver’s Three Lions Pub chanted Cummings’ name, and the Jamaican, who was draped in a Rapids scarf, arrived to a standing ovation from the crowd on hand.

But despite having to leave behind his home of over five years and the team that drafted him in the third round back in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft, Cummings understands that he’s now entering a desirable situation. After all, he is moving to MLS’ runners up of the last two years and is looking forward to forming would could potentially be one of the MLS’ most dynamic strike partnerships alongside Will Bruin.

“It was all positive,” Cummings told MLSsoccer.com of his first conversation with Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear, shortly after the trade was announced. “[He said], ‘I think you’re a really good player. I’ve watched you for a long time and I tried to get you for some years now. I think you’ll fit in great here in Houston and I’m glad to have you.’”

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Following his big 2010, Cummings battled injuries and inconsistency in 2011 and 2012, leading to just nine goals the last two seasons combined (he had 14 in 2010 alone). But after the leading scorer for Colorado’s 2010 MLS Cup team re-signed with the Rapids in May, the 2011 MLS All-Star thought he’d be back in Commerce City for the long haul.

But even with the December acquisition of fellow striker Edson Buddle from LA and the team discussing a possible loan move to Mexico with him recently, Cummings said that he didn’t see his trade coming.

“I was thinking about guys I was going to be playing with, honestly,” Cummings said of the Buddle and Atiba Harris acquisitions by the Rapids. “So for me, I didn’t have any idea about it.”

Cummings – who also insisted that he was fully healthy despite battling numerous ankle injuries the last two years – now has his eye on the future and believes he can return to the 2010 form that made him one of the league’s best strikers.

“You have to know who’s delivering the ball to you and have that relationship,” Cummings said of the keys returning to his old form in Houston. “Once you can have that relationship and connect with players and get into good spots…I think it works out best.”

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.