NEW YORK — Colorado Rapids forward Omar Cummings admitted being surprised to be called up by All-Star manager Hans Backe to play Manchester United on Wednesday (8:30 pm ET; ESPN2/TeleFutura/TSN).
“A little bit, I was,” Cummings told MLSsoccer.com after All-Star practice on Monday. “Being out for the past year, I think I was [surprised]. Last year I would have expected it but this year, no.”
The Swede made him one of his forward selections, highlighting his speed, which makes him one of the fastest players in the league. But that speed has been less of a factor this year after the Jamaican international striker suffered a right ankle sprain on May 4 in Houston, causing him to miss seven league matches as well as the CONCACAF Gold Cup with Jamaica.
He returned in June and has played in eight games, but he has yet to get back on the scoring sheet since his last goal on April 3, a span of nearly four months. The lack of goals are evidence of the obvious: He’s nowhere near 100 percent.
“Not quite,” Cummings said. “I’m still doing fitness, adding fitness. I still haven’t scored a goal since I’ve been back. The forward line has been up and down. Conor [Casey] is out for a little while now. We still have to see how that goes.”
Cummings’ current situation is a dramatic shift from what he experienced in January, when English Premier League club Aston Villa was orchestrating a loan deal for the Rapids forward following a 14-goal season for the MLS Cup champion Rapids. Failure to land a work permit due to Jamaica’s position in the FIFA rankings undercut the move.
The interest from England preceded a bid made for Cummings’ services by Mexican side Necaxa last summer. A strong showing against Manchester United on Wednesday could reignite the international, although the 29-year-old does not necessarily see it that way.
“It’s an All-Star game against Manchester United, and I’ve never looked at it like what it could do for me or anything like that,” he said. “I’m just here to play. That’s my job. Where my career goes, I don’t know. But I’m happy in Colorado and we’ll see where it goes from here.”
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