COMMERCE CITY — Oscar Pareja's project to transform the Rapids took another positive turn Sunday when a pair of newcomers made significant contributions in a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Fire.
Argentine midfielder Martin Rivero made his MLS debut, demonstrating the flair and creativity he was brought here to provide. And forward Kamani Hill, signed last week, came off the bench in the 82nd minute to score the game's second goal in stoppage time.
"It's exciting for the group (when) players can come and contribute immediately," Pareja said. "Having Martin today was good. He doesn't know much about the league, and in the first half he missed a little bit of the rhythm, but I thought in the second half he
One beneficiary of Rivero's ingenuity could be forward Omar Cummings, who scored 14 goals in 2010 but only three in 2011. Cummings scored the first goal Sunday, his second goal in the last two games.
"That's what Oscar is asking me, to look for the forwards and specifically Omar," Rivero said. "We all know what he can do and how fast he is. As the games go on, we will understand each other better."
The Rapids have a new-look midfield with Rivero and Jaime Castrillon of Colombia collaborating with Jeff Larentowicz.
"Martin and Jaime will get more rhythm," Pareja said. "The league is quick and physical, they both are adapting to it. I want more from them, but I think the games will give them that."
Cummings is adapting to them as well, but he's pleased with the way things are going.
"The first half was a little difficult, sometimes we were getting in each other's way a little bit, like (in) passing lanes," Cummings said. "In the second half we put a lot of pressure on them, trying to move the ball a little faster so we opened up spaces a lot quicker."