COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The first thing you might notice about the Colorado Rapids’ newest expected acquisition, 33-year-old Uruguayan striker Vicente Sánchez, is his somewhat surprisingly slim physique. Despite his age and recent time away from the field, Sánchez showed up for his first workout at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Friday morning looking slender and ready for action.
Sánchez arrived in Colorado earlier this week to work on finalizing his move to the Rapids, where the striker hopes he can contribute as Colorado push up the Western Conference standings. On Friday, Sánchez spoke to reporters after his first training session, wearing the No. 7 shirt.
“The season is coming to an end,” he said. “The team is playing very well and there are very good players in this group, so I have to adapt as quickly as possible.”
The Rapids are finalizing Sánchez’s acquisition from Uruguayan side Nacional, with only a physical and league paperwork keeping the deal from being official. The two sides are hoping to complete it next week.
Sánchez, meanwhile, brings a hard-to-beat pedigree to Commerce City. The veteran of the Uruguayan national team racked up 85 goals in 242 appearances over a six-year stint at Toluca, helping the Mexican league side win Apertura titles in 2002 and 2005. Following his successful stint in Mexico, Sánchez moved to Bundesliga side Schalke for three years before returning to Mexico for more three years in 2010, this time with Club América, before returning to Uruguay’s Nacional last year.
Sánchez said on Friday he had offers from Colombia, Argentina and his native Uruguay, but he ultimately chose MLS after speaking with Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja.
“I think [MLS] has grown a lot,” Sánchez said. “When I spoke with [Pareja], he told me about the project here, and it interested me. It’s a team that plays beautifully and well.”
Sánchez won’t play on Saturday in the Rapids’ Rocky Mountain Cup clash against Real Salt Lake at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (8:30 pm ET, watch it on MLS Live), but could be available for the August 11 match at Chivas USA. With the Rapids firmly in the playoff picture with 11 games left (including Saturday), Sánchez believes he’s ready to help provide them with an extra goalscoring push down the stretch.
“It’s a league that’s grown a lot, and hopefully I can sign my papers and be ready for selection,” Sánchez said.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.