COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Caleb Folan is getting his lungs back.
The giant former Hull City striker was back at Colorado Rapids training on Tuesday after the helter-skelter game at Chivas USA last weekend. The 1-0 Rapids road victory marked his MLS debut and his first truly competitive game since last summer.
Folan played almost 80 minutes of the Chivas game in a new Rapids strike partnership with Quincy Amarikwa, the scorer of the game’s only goal. Conor Casey could only manage a quarter of an hour or so because of calf problems and Omar Cummings was away with the Jamaican national team.
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: Colorado defeat Chivas USA 1-0
The Irish international, who has played in the English Premier League as well as the English lower divisions, wasn’t fazed by the physicality of the game.
“It was pretty much as I expected,” Folan told MLSsoccer.com. “Most games you play in have a certain tempo, a certain competitiveness. It wasn’t the prettiest of games, it was more of a battle and we had to grind out the win. It was competitive, that’s for sure.”
[inline_node:332191]Folan, who qualifies for Ireland through his grandparents but whose accent belies his Yorkshire roots, could have had an assist in his first MLS game.
In the 54th minute, he back-heeled a Jamie Smith corner kick right into the feet of Jeff Larentowicz, whose shot was handled on the line by Chivas’ Michael Lahoud. The referee waved play on.
“I just tried to get in front and all I could do was flick it back into the path of our players,” he said. “As I turned round, I was about to turn away and celebrate. I was a bit surprised.”
Folan, 28, is beginning to settle into his new surroundings. It's the camaraderie of the team that helps him adjust the best, two weeks after arriving in Denver from England. That helps him deal with the difficulties of a new life and new regulations in a foreign country.
He uses words like “humble” and “mellow” to describe the Rapids locker room. “It’s very refreshing,” he said.
Folan most enjoys going out to eat with his teammates and indulging in a few hoops games. A keen student of the NBA, Folan revealed he lives in the same temporary digs as Denver Nuggets guard Raymond Felton. He likes the way the new-look Nuggets are playing, especially now that All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups have been dealt to the New York Knicks.
"They look very good right now,” Folan said.
So far the only downside Folan has experienced in his American adventure is of the logistical variety. But even that, he says, is worth the trouble.
“As much as it’s been awesome, it’s still been a bit of a nightmare in terms of me coming to another country and applying for my social security and other things,” he said. “All these things are still in process, but the surroundings are great and I’m smiling every day.”
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