Colorado Rapids striker Kamani Hill has been doing plenty of people watching this season. Too much, for his taste.
But with the Rapids long eliminated from playoff contention, Hill received the start on Saturday night in Colorado’s 2-0 win against Chivas U.S.A. at the Home Depot Center, and he didn’t disappoint. The former VfL Wolfsburg man scored the Rapids’ second goal of the night on a powerful 43rd minute header and made a strong overall impression in just his second start of the season [the other coming April 21 against the Galaxy].
“Kamani brought a lot going forward,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the match on Saturday night. “I think as a player he nose for goals. Today was the case as well. He got that opportunity, and he scored a beautiful goal.”
Hill made only his third appearance since August 4, seemingly falling out of Pareja’s favor for most of the second half of the season. But despite his lack of action of late, Hill scored his fourth goal of 2012 on Saturday night [putting him third on the team in goals scored, only behind Jaime Castrillón and Omar Cummings], something he hopes can translate to added playing time down the road.
“I want to play [and] I think I have something to offer the team,” Hill told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the match. “What else can I say? I’m dying to play.”
The UCLA product flashed speed on the counter-attack and showed a cool head – literally and figuratively – in finishing a 43rd minute cross from strike partner Omar Cummings. Finding himself unmarked in the Chivas penalty box, Hill took Cummings’ cross in the middle of the box and put plenty of power behind the ball, expertly placing his effort in the far corner of the net for the goal.
“When the ball came across, I just wanted to put it back where it came from,” Hill said. “That was pretty much all that was going on, and when I connected with the ball, it had a nice little curve on it.”
The 26-year-old was substituted for Tony Cascio in the 65th minute as he works his way back to full match fitness, but Pareja said that Hill made a strong case for more playing time with his performance on Saturday.
“That’s one of those cases where it comes down to decisions on selecting the players for different matches and he understands as well that the consistency hasn’t been there,” Pareja said of Hill’s omission through the second half of the season. “But Kamani brings things. As a player, he has been in our plans.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.