Courtesy Colorado Rapids

Rapids' Smith hopes to keep EPL vet Folan in fold

PHOENIX – At some point in the first half of the Colorado’s 2-0 win over Columbus here at the Reach 11 Sports Complex on Monday, Rapids center back Drew Moor got his feet on a clearance, looked up at the top target men up front and simply smiled.

What he saw in front of him were like twin battering rams: Conor Casey and Caleb Folan, both 6-foot-2 and both built like Mac trucks.

Head coach Gary Smith wanted to see what Folan – the big Irish international and Premier League alum who is on trial with Colorado – would look like next to both of his star strikers.

Last week against Sporting Kansas City, he paired the 28-year-old Folan with Omar Cummings. On Monday, he went with what could amount to perhaps the biggest front line in club history. And they provided some surprises.

Predictably, it wasn’t easy for Columbus’ back line to deal with the size of both Folan and Casey at the same time. But they showed some unexpectedly pretty interplay, too, with a nice give-and-go in the first half. Casey laid a pretty flick to Folan on the left wing about 25 minutes in, and the English-born Irishman charged in on goal a curved a chip just over William Hesmer – attractive technical play from both that’s rare for men of their size.

“I thought the two guys worked extremely well today,” Smith told after the match. “I think the big difference with Caleb that people might see if he’s around a little bit longer, not only is he a very big specimen, he’s very athletic as well and he gets on the shoulders of center backs, he can get in behind players, he can threaten with his pace and power.”

Smith admits he’s been very pleased with the former Hull City man’s play in preseason and would love to keep him around a bit longer. The only question is whether the team will be able to offer a contract to the forward that he will find agreeable and one that will keep Colorado within cap constraints.

“Today the guys have seen very good targets and I think we’ve gotten a nice amount out of it,” Smith said of the dimension the well-traveled Folan brings. “To try to keep him around a little bit longer would be a real achievement.”

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