After Matt Pickens went out with a groin injury in the second half of Saturday's 4-1 loss to the Earthquakes, the team called up Steward Ceus for the first time in his MLS career.
Through 2010, Ian Joyce had acted as the first team backup for Pickens most of the time, with 2009 draft pick Ceus the third man on the totem pole. Joyce got his first and only MLS minutes against the Houston Dynamo in an easy 3-0 win that season. Quickly, Ceus proved himself to be a better candidate and moved himself up in the hierarchy to the second spot behind Pickens. Ceus had played in Open Cup games, CCL matches, and the friendly against Swansea City prior to Saturday's game, but was still seeking his first time on the pitch in an MLS game.
Ceus' 21 minutes on the field were mostly unremarkable, getting a goal scored on him by Chris Wondolowski and not having much else to do. Still, it was good to see him come into a game and immediately become just as vocal at Matt Pickens is with sorting his back four. He didn't look like a young keeper out there, which is good if Pickens ever gets injured in a game that actually matters in the future.
Prior to the injury, by the way, Pickens had played 75 straight league games for the Rapids for their full 90 minute durations, a club record.
In the postgame interview following the loss, Oscar Pareja seemed to indicate that Ceus would probably be seeing minutes against Chivas as well. "Yeah, yeah, yeah," Pareja said, "I think it's a good opportunity for Stew, a good opportunity for players who don't get much action on the playing field."
Pareja did say prior to the Quakes game that he was hoping to get more players on the pitch who hadn't gotten much time this season, even if they earned it. Pickens potentially being injured for the rest of the season gives them a shot to put out the backup keeper for a lot of minutes that usually a backup keeper doesn't see.