I was impressed by Quincy Amarika's first appearance this year against the Portland Timbers. He looked composed, made some interesting runs toward the box with the ball and all in all looked not like a regular first team player on a team that is deeper at striker than anything else, but at the very least an improved player from his mediocrity last season. My final word on him was that we would need to see him perform against a team better than the currently floundering Portland Timbers before I would give him any real plaudits, especially after being one of his biggest detractors last season.
Chivas USA might not exactly be the type of team I was looking for when I talked about better options than the Timbers but they do have a pretty good defense and goalkeeper. As Quincy started up top in that game - alongside Caleb Folan - with Omar Cummings missing and Conor Casey still hurting a bit from an injury, I was a bit frightened and I said as much just about the second that the starting lineup was released on twitter by the Rapids. Fortunately, I had very little to worry about as this might be a new Quincy we're seeing this year.
Along with marked improvements in the first few games by Anthony Wallace and Jamie Smith, Quincy has been a bright spot on an already bright squad. He scored his 3rd goal in MLS competition on Saturday, after one in his time in San Jose and an easy tap in against the Philadelphia Union last year. This goal was not just his first of the season but it showed poise and skill that has up until now been uncharacteristic of our long haired third striker. That chip over Zach Thornton was something I don't think most strikers would have been able to pull off, and his calm finish showed a ton of poise - he was celebrating even before he kicked it in and still managed to get the goal with no problems! After watching people like Mehdi Ballouchy bork shots that easy in the past it's nice to know that this team has players with the confidence to finish like that.
Amarikwa has been a work in progress since coming over from the Earthquakes and over the offseason he has appeared to gain a ton of skill and ability compared to his 'fall down every time the ball comes near him' style of play last season. With Caleb Folan taking over the obvious spot of 'back up target forward' it's looking like Amarikwa might be the 3rd striker off the bench not just by default like he was for a bunch of time last year, but because of his actual ability on the ball.
Omar Cummings and Conor Casey - and I've said this many times - will probably not remain together another season, either perhaps going off to Europe or Mexico being the most likely reason. Will Quincy be the striker of the future for the Rapids with them gone? It's tough to say. With another incredibly skilled young guy chasing the position in Andre Akpan along with Mac Kandji - the man who created the cup winning goal for Colorado in the final but another work in progress - there is going to be competition. You have to remember though that at the beginning of the season Quincy was seen by many people - me included - as the odd man out of that equation.