Colorado Rapids training news and notes: May 22

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (May 22, 2018) – Here are full updates on the Colorado Rapids training and recovering injured players as of May 22, 2018.

Colorado Rapids training news and notes: Injury updates and intense practices

The Rapids still have a number of players coming back from injury. Marlon Hairston, Kortne Ford, and Johan Blomberg are still recovering after being out for several weeks. Shkelzen Gashi, Sam Nicholson, and Dominique Badji have all recently had minor injury scares but played over the weekend in a loss at New York City FC.

Injury updates:

Kortne Ford and Marlon Hairston have been in training this week and practicing with the team. In squad scrimmages, they’ve mostly been with the reserve side.

“Marlon’s probably a little bit further ahead. I hope by next week we can a reserve match for them and then from there build up their minutes and get them back in the team,” Head Coach Anthony Hudson told Last Word on Soccer after training.

Ford is just a bit behind schedule with his rehab. It was reported that he was going to be out 8-10 weeks. This is currently the 10th week of his rehab. Assuming he and Hairston get a reserve game later this week or this weekend, they should be ready to step in with the first team next week.

Hairston’s rehab has taken much longer than reported (2-3 weeks). Hudson shed some light on that discrepancy:

“It was a little premature of us to have said long he was going to be out. His rehab has taken this long. I don’t think we should have backed ourselves into a corner there. We weren’t 100% clear there.”

Blomberg has been at training but mostly doing solo work on the side. He was involved in some squad passing drills today but has yet to partake in any 11-v-11 or 7-v-7 scrimmages. Hudson said the next step for Blomberg is to spend some time with the sports science and training staff. From there, he’ll either be cleared or not to return to team training.

I would list all three of these players as out for Saturday based on the information we have and precedent. Right now, I’d list all three as questionable for next week’s match.

Intensity and focus:

I’m not one to read into little things I notice at training (a player sitting out for a bit, one small tweak to a drill, etc.). I do look at who’s playing with who especially in 11 a side scrimmages and large-scale team drills are a big deal to me.

That said, from start to finish this was one of the most intense training sessions I’ve seen this season. For the second straight day, the players started outdoor training 45 minutes later than scheduled due to a film session running long.

The training itself was very competitive and borderline heated at times in terms of competition and effort from start to finish. Hudson called today the most intense training the team has had this year and that it was one of the best.

The players and the coaches clearly see that this five-match losing streak is clearly unacceptable. The coaches are responding by spending more time with film study and having teaching moments in training. The players are responding with energy and desperation in training. We’ll see if that carries over on Saturday against Portland Timbers.

Miscillanious notes:

As previously stated, Gashi and Badji played on Saturday. Gashi had been dealing with a groin injury the last few weeks and Badji was pulled out of a match against New York Red Bulls.

“Badji was feeling it [on Saturday] which is why we brought him off. He’s ok now. Gashi’s in a good place now. It’s just about him getting fit and getting game minutes.”

Hudson went on to say that Sam Nicholson has been carrying a knock in his lower back that he suffered in a play against Roger Espinoza at Sporting KC. It hasn’t limited him too much, but he’s yet to play 90 minutes for the Rapids. Nicholson did get an injection today after training. This should be behind him soon, but it’s something to watch for.

Lastly, Stefan Aigner has been present at training. He hasn’t been involved at all in team scrimmages the last two weeks. He’s been involved at the beginning and end of training sessions, mostly cardio, small group passing drills, and other physical training.

All four should be available for selection. Badji, Gashi, and Nicholson should be looking to get more minutes than they did last week. Gashi could get his second start as well. He and Yannick Boli are in the same place in that sense; the next thing for both of them is more playing time.

I am starting to believe that Aigner may not see the field for the Rapids under Hudson.