March 10, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rapids forward Quincy Amarikwa (12) controls the ball during the second half against the Columbus Crew at the Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
All right, hold on. I'm not saying that Quincy Amarikwa is suddenly the best striker on the Colorado Rapids and has finally turned the corner from frustrating fourth striker to top MLS prospect. We covered that last year and it didn't work too well in the end. However, under Oscar Pareja's new system Amarikwa looked... well, a lot like we've always wanted Amarikwa to look. His runs were sharper, his shots were actually coming and he didn't try to bicycle kick.
Trust me, the bicycle kick part is important.
If you watched the final minutes of the game against Columbus you saw Andre Akpan and Quincy Amarikwa playing decent minutes on the field together for the first time in a first team game. It had been a long time coming. It looked good, better than I expected it to. Both Akpan and Amarikwa looked like they were naturals and had great chemistry with their passing and field positions.
Makes sense, really. Ben pointed out to me the other day that we've had the two of them for a couple of years now and they've been playing as essentially a pair - in 2010 as the main pair behind Casey/Cummings, in 2011 as the same pair though with Caleb Folan a step ahead - for that entire time. The two of them know each other just as well as Conor Casey and Omar Cummings know each other on the field, and that's a good sign.
I'm not saying that Amarikwa and Akpan are going to be as good in the future as Casey/Cummings have been, that's comparing apples to oranges anyway as both of them are fast, skillful strikers and neither are true target forwards like Casey. It will be very interesting to see if the two of them get a lot more starting time together though, there's something to be said for chemistry on the football pitch.