Smith Hails Lopez’s Creative Streak

16 04 2010

Colorado Rapids boss Gary Smith is already beginning to be vindicated in signing former Lazio and Valencia forward Claudio Lopez after making his debut on Tuesday in the US Open Cup qualifiers.

The 35 year old Argentinian was always going to pose a risk as to if he could still produce top form but he showed he still can after setting up the winning goal for Wells Thompson just a minute after coming on as a substitute. The assist would have gave Lopez extra pleasure as it was against Kansas City Wizards, the club he left on a free at the start of the year after not being able to agree a new contract. Colorado advance to the next round of US Open Cup qualifying after winning 2-1 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark, Kansas City.

“He’s quite free-spirited and creative,” Said Smith of the veteran of two world cups with 58 caps and 10 international goals. “With his wealth of experience around the world, he sees and does things that are very much off the cuff. That’s no slight on any of our players, because they fit into a shape and a format that over a period of time I’ve been very, very pleased with. But what I’m hoping is that Claudio will come in, he will pick up areas, see passes, in the blink of the eye will notice a situation that is developing and be the difference.”

Gary Smith will have lots of options of where to have Lopez start through his ability to play either up front as a second striker or to be part of the midfield as a left winger. Claudio only signed for the Rapids on 3rd April, missing all of preseason so he isn’t expected to be at full fitness for up to a fortnight.

Photo by pink_fish13, quotes sourced from the Denver Post.

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