COMMERCE CITY — Having waited a month because of bureaucratic inertia in his native Argentina, Martin Rivero should get a chance to show Rapids fans what a classic No. 10 looks like Sunday against the Chicago Fire at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
The Rapids acquired the dynamic young player on loan from Rosario Central on Feb. 16, but his International Transfer Certificate didn't come through until this past Monday. Whether the delay was caused by the Argentine Soccer Federation or his club was unclear; Rivero is just glad he finally gets to play.
Rivero has been training with the Rapids for a month but could not play in their first three games.
"I'm very happy, because with the transfer this past Monday, now it's a little more relaxed," said Rivero, 22. "Every day, every week things are getting better, and I'm trying to do more. I've always been trying to train as hard as I can, so that as soon as they pick me, I'd be ready."
Rivero is a playmaker who figures to have the ball a lot, attracting defenders in the penalty area and setting up teammates for goal-scoring chances.
"I wear the No. 10, and my characteristics are something where I have the ball a lot, I try to play a lot with the teammates and I try to attack the other team's area a lot," Rivero said. "Everybody likes to score goals. I'm not really a goal scorer. I get into the area and I'm always trying to score goals, (but) my characteristics are to help the (others) play and, more than anything, get assists."
Rivero figures to be deployed between the forward and midfield lines.
"He has a lot of creativity going forward," coach Oscar Pareja said. "He has that glue, the creativity to make the other ones better. It will take some time for him to adapt to the league, but Martin seems to adapt on the training ground in very good connection with everybody else. I expect him to step up and start helping."
One beneficiary could be forward Omar Cummings, who scored his first goal since Aug. 5 last Sunday in a 4-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls. It was the Rapids' first loss after a 2-0 start.
"Martin is a very skillful player, good on the ball, great passes," Cummings said, beaming at the mention of Rivero's impact on his game. "Hopefully, he can get me in front of the goal more. Once we get that connection, get that combination where we're playing off each other, making runs, hopefully it can get us through."
Rivero trained a lot with the first team until the delay of his paperwork made his availability unlikely for games. That took time away from adjusting to his new teammates.
"Now that he's back and he's playing with the first team more," Cummings said, "I think for sure we will get that connection."
Rivero won't speculate on whether the delay in his paperwork was deliberate.
"I tried not to get involved in it," Rivero said. "I was just trying to wait calmly. Now I just have to leave that all behind and think about playing — nothing else."
John Meyer: 303-954-1616 or firstname.lastname@example.org