Last season, Colorado were winning games for several reasons. Their defense was the best in franchise history after the additions of Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne and later Anthony Wallace. Pablo Mastroeni was having a career year because of the addition of a new shut-down defensive midfielder named Jeff Larentowicz. Matt Pickens in goal was proving to be one of the more underrated players in the league.
Out of all the reasons though, the one that got the most press by far was the fantastic duo up top of Conor Casey and Omar Cummings terrorizing every back-line in the league to the tune of 26 goals between the two of them on the season. Casey's size and ball skills combined with Cummings' top speed and sniping ability made for what might be the most ideal couple up top that you can dream of in attack.
Unfortunately, the duo has been broken up for the majority of this season.
Actually, majority isn't even the word for it, we need something stronger. How about "damn near all" of it? Conor and Omar have only been the starting duo up top for a single game this season, the home opener against Portland. Since then, long-term injuries to both as well as a trip to Jamaica for Cummings on international duty have kept them apart. We've seen just about every other starting combination that you can think of - Folan/Amarikwa, Casey/Akpan, Cummings/Akpan, Folan/Casey, et. al. - but pretty much all of them have lacked the straight up magic that we see on the pitch whenever our first two strikers are out there together. There really is no substitute for experience and these two have a great sense about each other.
Fortunately, Omar's recent ankle injury suffered against the Houston Dynamo looks to be clearing up on schedule - the Houston game was over a month ago and the injury was reportedly a four-weeker to heal - and it's looking more and more likely that the striker duo we saw open the season against Portland will come back and finally play together again against... uh, Portland. Good timing by Cummings to get healthy, I suppose. Now we can use that fun little hilarious tidbit for the next week!
If Cummings is healthy, that will mean that almost every single injured player from that terrible month-and-a-half period where just about everyone on the team missed time from injury will be healed up. Excepting Brian Mullan who is still suspended, Portland will likely be facing the Rapids first choice team in their first appearance together since, you guessed it, the home opener against Portland. Jamie Smith and Omar Cummings are probably the biggest 'maybes' for the game, with Jamie still obviously battling that leg injury after looking a bit tentative in the game against the Philadelphia Union. Cummings may not start because of Gary Smith's love of keeping his players out until he's absolutely sure they're ready, but from what we've heard it's a good chance that he will at least be out there for a while.
Either way, it will be great watching the best strike-force in the league finally glue itself back together, especially in a hostile environment like Portland. The team could not have picked a better time to heal itself up, considering June is going to be a slow enough month that the team will have had time to get themselves back as close to 100% as they possibly can going into the terribly exhausting July schedule and CONCACAF games slated for August.