Monday, July 13, 2009

Kimura Steps Up to Plate as Do Others

When your star players are away on international duty, you need the ones left behind to step up to the plate. Omar Cummings did it big time when Conor Casey was away in Chicago and South Africa. Now that Omar and Colin Clark are away for the Gold Cup, Kosuke Kimura chimed in with an energetic performance that won the game on Saturday for the Colorado Rapids. Long before the right-back lashed one into the top of the net in the 79th minute, he had been in top form during the game, contributing to the attack consistently and saving the defense when needed. Kimura, fast becoming a fan favorite, is a coaches', teammates' and supporters' delight. He tries his heart out, he never complains, he loves this game and he is as modest as he is hard working. "My aim is to be aggressive all the time," he said after the game. "I knew a goal was coming; I just didn't know I was going to score." All the media was, rightly, focusing on Kimura after the game. But it would be easy to overlook the significant play of others. The midfield of Mehdi Ballouchy, Nick LaBrocca and Pablo Mastroeni were rightly picked out by coach Gary Smith after the game for their unsung work in the unusual 4-3-3 formation employed Saturday. I swear LaBrocca ran about 10k just in that second half.
Coach Smith acknowledged the vital nature of this win, coming as it did after the team's worst performance of the season against Chicago and before a tricky trip away to DC United on July 18th. "We are a side that are lacking a couple of players that make a big diference for us," Smith said about the absence of Clark and Cummings. "The most important thing was to get three points today." Thankfully, Cummings will be back to play in the DC United game as Jamaica crashed out of the Gold Cup. Clark will remain with the US team and so will miss that game. In the meantime, fans can be thankful that the rest of the squad continue to perform well, the blip against Chicago the exception rather than the rule.


Anonymous said...

Kimura played an incredible macth - that kid runs like the wind, all match long and leaves it all on the pitch. And when he grabs the shield and points at the crowd you know he means it.

His improving play these past few games should afford him a regular spot in the lineup. Which begs the question...who is the odd man out? Will Baudet earn a starting spot? Does Gibbs move to the bench? Ugo?

Nick Thomas said...

It's certainly going to be tough to get a starting spot. You are right - Kimura fully deserves to start. Maybe Gary Smith would move him up to more of a midfielder? Harvey will continue to play at left back. I think Baudet is being brought in as a leader so I see the competition for the other spot right now between Gibbs and Ihemelu, not to mention Harden, Valentino and Holody. Getting a little crowded back there.

Scott said...

Getting crowded at defense and an attack that outside of the top two is still lacking? Could the Rapids be doing a better job with roster moves?

On another note, I have liked Kimura for a while and this season he has really started to play in a way that is forcing him to get noticed. Doesn't he have a couple of goals now? I would like to see him play in the midfield simply because of his work ethic and his lack of height on defense and yet despite that he still seems to be able to get the job done.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, Kimura played midfield in college. If Cookie indeed does get dropped I would very much like to see what Kimura could do at right winger. He has the speed and stamina to cover the entire pitch, he has a nice shot from both feet, a developing cross and is pretty good with the ball at his feet....sheesh, why hasn't he gotten a start up there??

Nick Thomas said...

Trying to get the story on Cooke. I think he hasn't had a fair run this season and he is not happy. I talked with him after the game and he is pissed but it's all off the record at the moment. I agree that Kimura could play wing but there is this Jamie Smith guy coming in and I think it would be a poor move not to keep Cooke in this squad.

Anonymous said...

Don't misunderstand me, Nick - I will be seriously upset if they let Cooke go. I also agree that he hasn't ben treated well this year and that letting him go would be absolutely foolish on many levels. What I was trying to say was, if they weren't going to use Cookie (until the last two games which I suspect was more to try and show him off for trade bait) then why not give Kos a try at wing?

Cooke should be pissed - the ugly side of professional sports has certainly reared its head to him this season.

As for this Jamie Smith guy - like every other incoming player, he'll have to prove his worth.