Rapids midfielder Nathan Sturgis might have to purchase his own moving van. The 25-year-old is in his eighth-year as pro, and is playing for his seventh team. He’s made stops in, Salt Lake, Seattle, Toronto, Houston, and now, Colorado – his fourth team in three years.
Finally, however, the journeyman is getting his chance at the starting lineup. And so far he’s making the most of it.
Sturgis scored the opening goal in the Rapids’ 1-1 draw with San Jose at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday night, sending Colorado to its fourth straight result. His 26th-minute tally off a Martin Rivero corner kick came after he beat Earthquakes defenders Sam Cronin and Jason Hernandez to the near post and volleyed the ball into the back of the net for the game’s opening goal.
“I’m very happy for him,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said of Sturgis post-game. “He’s one of those guys that brings a lot of professionalism to the team. Excellent passer, but I think most important for him, now he’s becoming one of those guys that is box-to-box and helping us with scoring.”
Sturgis nearly had the game-winning goal deep into the second half after San Jose’s Marvin Chavez equalized off a free kick in the 78th minute. Off another Rivero corner, Sturgis’ 84th minute header had ‘Quakes ‘keeper Jon Busch beat, but the ball banged off the crossbar.
Filling in for injured holding midfielder Hendry Thomas, Sturgis started his third consecutive MLS match on Saturday for the first time in nearly two years. It’s been a long, winding search for playing time for the versatile midfielder, but finally, he could be finding a permanent home.
“I just tried to make a near post run, get in front of the front post guy,” Sturgis said post-game of his goal. “Martin sent in a good ball, I just tried to re-direct it on goal and fortunately it went in.”
Showing the ability to make the tough tackles at holding midfield while coming forward with confidence, Sturgis is hoping that he’s in Colorado – and Colorado’s starting lineup – to stay.
“The coaches have given me a chance to go in the box [in search of goals],” Sturgis said. “I’ve just been trying to make good runs.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.