Colorado Rapids Training Updates: Finally healthy and competition in training?

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Edgar Castillo celebrates scoring a goal for Colorado Rapids against Minnesota United FC at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Photo Credit: John A. Babiak @Photog_JohnB

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (June 27, 2018) – The Colorado Rapids have finally ended their winless streak and have a favorable schedule coming up. They’re getting healthy and Manager Anthony Hudson could be looking to use competition during Colorado Rapids training to help the team get their season back on track.

Colorado Rapids Training Updates: Finally healthy and competition in training?

The Rapids have a number of players coming back from injury. Johan Blomberg and Marlon Hairston came back from injury recently. Hairston was subbed out on Saturday in a win against Minnesota United FC due to a head injury concern.

Axel Sjoberg and Joe Mason had recently been dealing with the MLS concussion protocol and a hamstring issue, respectively. Both were on the bench on Saturday, with Mason coming off the bench to score. Kortne Ford is still recovering from an MCL injury that has kept him out of league action this year.

Health bodies finally?

Every player was in training on Tuesday and fully participatory in drills and team scrimmages. This includes the players listed above.

Blomberg has played in the last three games for the club and looks to be ok. “He had a bit of a problem with his lower back. He didn’t train during the week but he’s good now,” Hudson told Last Word on Soccer after training on Tuesday afternoon.

Hudson also confirmed that Mason and Hairston are good to go. The next thing for Mason coming back from injury is to get more minutes, possibly subbing into a game earlier or starting. Hairston fully participated in training and isn’t under concussion protocol. He did, however, spend most of the day during scrimmages with the reserve side rather than the starters.

Sjoberg, as expected given that he was on the bench on Saturday, has passed the concussion protocol and cleared to play. Ford has been fully participating in training for over a week now. He should be ready to step into a game if needed soon.

I would anticipate every one of these players to be available for selection this coming Sunday against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. That’s the first time since the regular season started that every Rapids player has been available for selection for a match.

I don’t think Ford will play for a few reasons though. Hudson’s historically been very cautious with players coming back from injury and prefers not to play them when risking reinjury. Every other player is due for more minutes as the next step to them becoming 90 minutes fit (or in Sjoberg’s case going from no minutes to some minutes). I think he’ll be cautious with Ford.

That said they do have just two days between this Sunday’s match and their 4th of July game next Wednesday. Ford could very well see the bench then.

Healthy competition to come:

Hudson and others within the organization have expressed a desire for the squad to have some healthy competition for playing time the last several months. With so many injuries, it’s been difficult to create that environment. Often times, Hudson’s decisions have been made for him just based on the availability of players at certain positions.

They might finally in a position to have an open competition for the betterment of the team.

“We’re right at the start of it,” Hudson said when asked about the subject. “We need a bit of consistency in the team but definitely the competition is essential. It’s not in their best interest if they know they’re going to start. They get a sense of comfort and complacency. Especially for our group, it doesn’t help us.”

The coaching staff did rotate a number of players this week in drills and scrimmages. This could be an early sign of the club moving towards a model of ‘whoever performs the best in practice gets the start next game.’

This will force the entire team to raise their level individually and collectively. They’ll need that if they’re going to make a run at the playoffs in the second half of the season.

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