COLUMBUS, OH - JUNE 26: Jamie Smith #20 of the Colorado Rapids defends against Josh Gardner #31 of the Columbus Crew on June 26, 2011 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated Colorado 4-1. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
The Colorado Rapids CONCACAF Champions League journey is pretty much over even though there are still two games to play after losing at home 2-1 to formerly winless Real Espana. With the Rapids looking to focus on just MLS play from now on, it's a good sign that we saw midfielder Jamie Smith get some minutes - and almost a couple of goals as well - in that failed effort against the Honduran side.
Sidelined for over a month until the Espana game, Smith's quality has shone through the season, scoring two of the most magical goals of the year for the Rapids so far. I'm sure we all remember his goal of the week candidate in Week 1 against the Portland Timbers and his 40 yard chip in the Houston Dynamo game that drew the match up. The Scotsman's quality has been missing from the Rapids as of late, as they are now on a five game winless skid in all competitions with very few goals to speak of throughout that group of games.
Getting Smith back will be a huge windfall not only because he'll provide some fairly fresh legs on a tired squad but he'll provide the service and balls into the box that nobody else on the team have been able to match since his injury. If he can score a couple more goals as well, that's really just icing on the cake. With a tough stretch of games coming up including the incredibly important match against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, the Rapids need all the quality they can muster on the pitch in order to pull themselves into the playoffs and perhaps try and make anything even close to resembling a run in them.