Oh man, I'll bet the Rapids facebook page went nuts when Jamie Smith scored a goal to win Saturday's game against the San Jose Earthquakes. Jamie's contract status has been a hot topic surrounding the preseason for the Rapids, and he didn't waste the one chance he got to remind the team of what he's capable of in Arizona.
Unfortunately, I don't see that goal having any bearing at all on the status of his still unsigned contract.
Why? Well, simply because the Rapids still have 100% of the leverage in the situation. It's almost a guaranteed bet that the dispute has been over his contract numbers -- the Rapids jettisoned Conor Casey because they didn't want to pay him $400,000 a year any more, and Jamie Smith's salary of just under $160,000 was almost as bad considering the scant amount of minutes he played. (That's both because of injury and age.)
Colorado clearly doesn't need Jamie now as much as they needed him in 2010 or 2011, when the depth on the team was still frighteningly low. Even though he has said before that he doesn't want to leave Colorado anyway, it's unlikely that he'd find a job elsewhere in MLS if the Rapids did let him go, so he's pretty much stuck here if he wants to keep his family in the country. (Nobody wanted him in the Re-Entry Draft, and there was nothing indicating that any other team even took a sniff in the second round. Goddamn Chad Barrett was taken in the second round!)
In addition to all of that, there's still the point that Jamie has been injury prone ever since he joined the Rapids -- 2010 was his least injured season, but remember when we were biting our nails because Jamie was about to miss the MLS Cup, only sneaking onto the roster at the last minute with a nagging injury?
These are leverages that the Rapids had before the Desert Friendlies started, and there's no way that Jamie is going to be able to storm into the office and say, 'Did you see that sweet tap-in I scored in that preseason game? You're my bitches now!' (Bonus points if you read that in a Scottish accent.) Personally, I would think he's worth about $75,000 a season assuming he can manage more minutes next year than he did last year, but I have a hunch that his target salary is still well into the six-digit territory.
If Jamie signs a contract in the next few days -- which I certainly hope he does, as it would be nice to see him close out his career, with a lower salary of course, as a bench presence for the Rapids like he played last year -- it will be because he finally agreed to a lower number that the Rapids put toward him.
It won't be because of a preseason goal, well worked as that goal might have been.