It will be interesting to see if Terry Cooke laces up this weekend against DC United. With Colin Clark still absent on US national team duty and the team more likely to shift back to a 4-4-2 formation now that Omar Cummings is back to play upfront with Conor Casey, it would appear as if the veteran winger may get the nod. But Cooke is unsettled. He was frustrated after the Dallas game last weekend and a large part of that appears to be linked with the imminent arrival of midfielder/winger, Jamie Smith. Gary Smith and Steve Guppy like wingers who will take on people. Smith will do that, Jacob Peterson does it, Colin Clark makes his living doing it. Even Kosuke Kimura is increasingly doing it. Cooke is your classic delivery man, not a dribbler per se. He is very good at what he does but it may just be that he does not fit into the overall plans of the coaching staff. His relative age and his salary also count against him.
I can't say much as all the conversations I have had with various people about Cooke's future at the club, including with the man himself, are off the record. What I can say is that I don't think the incident involving his child in England earlier this year will have much to do with any decision he makes or is made for him. I thought for a long time that an incident so serious could make you reconsider where you need to be and, with his career coming into the twilight years, a move back to England may be in the offing. I don't think that is the case, however. Cooke just wants to play more and he doesn't appear to mind where that would be if it has to be away from Colorado.
The facts are these. The Rapids have to part with one senior player to make room for Smith and Facundo Diz. Smith's presence puts further pressure on Cooke. If you look at the roster, there aren't that many obvious choices that could be made. The defense is overloaded but it is hard to see anybody leaving from there. There could be an argument that, with the signing of Julien Baudet, Cory Gibbs could make way but that is hard to imagine. Greg Dalby could be another player but he is hardly in the same mold as Cooke and the team is not overloaded with defensive midfielders. Cooke does appear to be the obvious choice for the sacrifical slab. Gary Smith, who did say to me that there are one or two players that have attracted interest from other clubs, knows it will come down to a very hard decision. Many people will be very upset if Cooke does go, including me, but we all have to remember this is a business like any other. It will be a decision made with a heavy heart, that's for sure. There's little doubt that next week's announcements will be the biggest trades of the season so far.