COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – All eyes this week have been firmly focused on the Rapids' new holding midfielder Hendry Thomas, who signed on Tuesday after spending the last three years with English Premier League side Wigan.
But the 27-year-old Honduran is unlikely to make his MLS debut Saturday against San Jose (10:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
The former Olimpia midfielder – who only played in two competitive matches for Wigan last season – admitted that he was only about “70- to 80-percent” match fit and needs to do more conditioning work before he’s ready to play.
“With the altitude and everything, he’s behind a little bit,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said on Tuesday.
Thomas did receive his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 work visa on Thursday, clearing the logistics for him to be eligible for Saturday’s game, though Thomas is more likely to debut on August 31 at Portland or in the September 5 home match, also against Portland.
Once he is ready to play, Thomas is expected to pair with Jeff Larentowicz to give Pareja two defensive-minded midfielders in his lineup.
Injuries continue to hamper Rapids
It’s been one injury after another for Colorado this season.
Although extended absences have hampered several key players so far this season, mostly due to injury, many of the those players have since returned to action, but lingering injuries remain to several key Rapids as they gear up for the final nine games of the season.
Striker Omar Cummings and defender Drew Moor both sat out Tuesday’s practice session as they recovered from nagging injuries, but both players are expected to be available for Saturday night’s trip to first-place San Jose. Only Cummings was listed on Tuesday’s injury report, labeled as probable with ankle soreness.
Striker Conor Casey (hamstring), who played the final 30 minutes of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Chivas USA, may start Saturday for the first time since July 28.
Meanwhile, Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja gave his players the day off on Thursday for rest purposes. Colorado will play three matches in 11 days starting with Saturday’s trip to San Jose.
New trialist for Rapids
Thomas isn’t the only Rapids target to make his way to suburban Denver from across the pond.
American midfielder Anton Peterlin began a trial with the Rapids on Tuesday. He was released from his contract at English League One side Walsall in May and trialed with Scottish outfit Hearts before joining the Rapids this week. The 25-year-old also appeared in eight reserve matches in 2009 for EPL side Everton and also played for then-League One team Plymouth Argyle in 2010.
The Rapids have also trialed South African defender Brett Evans along with former FC Dallas and Toronto FC forward Peri Marosevic this summer, but have yet to sign either player.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.