It was just like opening day last season when we stuffed the LA Galaxy 4-0. The Colorado Rapids went to LA today and put five goals past the unfortunate Beckham-less Galaxy who responded with two goals of their own. Today's game had even more of a ring of that opening game last year because Terry Cooke got on the scoresheet just as he did in 2008 for the only time last season. Mehdi Ballouchy, Conor Casey and Omar Cummings (twice) also netted. "It was very pleasing to hit the back of the net five times," said Gary Smith, head coach, speaking from LA. More importantly, Smith said the starting XI today was close to what we can expect come opening day against Chivas, March 21. The XI that started: Burpo in goal, a back four of Kimura, Ihemelu, Gibbs and Harvey, a midfield of Petersen, Mastroeni, Ballouchy and Clark with Casey and Cummings upfront. After about an hour, the entire back four was changed to Wawa, Dalby, Holody and Guerrero with Cooke and LaBrocca coming into the midfield and new boy Richardson taking a turn upfront. "He's not been here that long and he has a lot going on in his life," said Smith of Gregory Richardson, aka Jackie Chan. The Guyanese may have to do some strength and conditioning to make himself ready for the rigors of MLS. "There's not much of him - he seems like a decent lad," Smith said.
Whether Richardson will make the team as another striking option remains to be seen. Smith said he is still looking at one unidentified striker to come in before the season starts. That could leave Richardson's status with the team up in the air though Smith said that some established players could also make way for more forward options and to help keep some of the draft players on board.
Some of those more established players did leave some room for younger draft players Monday when they were waived by the club. Justin Hughes, Cesar Zambrano and Kwame Sarkodie are no longer Rapids players. Smith said that Hughes has attracted interest from a USL-1 team and that he could also likely get on the Real Maryland squad. Zambrano is being courted by sister club Maryland while Sarkodie is using the links between assistant coach, Steve Guppy, and the Rochester Rhinos to pursue dreams there.