Milton Rodriguez nearing full fitness

FCD's Colombian forward set to make his debut on July 17


Photo Credit: 
Rick Yeatts

since he arrived in Frisco just over a month ago, the talk has been about when
recently signed Colombian forward Milton Rodriguez would make his FCD debut.

With the MLS transfer window set to open one week from today on July 15, that
answer could be simple. FCD’s first game after the window opens is on Saturday,
July 17 against Real Salt Lake at Pizza Hut Park.

Over the
course of the last five weeks, the 34-year-old striker has played in several
scrimmages, while getting to know his teammates and getting his family adjusted to their new surroundings. He has also been building his fitness.

“I feel a
lot better than when I got here," Rodriguez said through an interpreter on Wednesday. "The most important thing was getting the
rhythm of play on the field, getting touches on the ball, getting used to my
teammates and trying to get used to playing with them. Physically, I’m getting better. I’m not quite there
yet but I’m definitely getting better. Hopefully in this next week and a half,
I can get closer to 100 percent.”

With the
dog days of summer now in full swing in Frisco, FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman
has been starting training at around 8:30 a.m. local time and ending his sessions
just after 10 o’clock, which is just fine with his newest forward.

“Back in
Colombia, we practiced early so it’s not an adjustment for me. I’d rather
practice early because I’d rather get adjusted to the time than the heat here
because it’s so tough right now,” Rodriguez said.

Of course,
part of his acclimation process has involved getting adjusted to the Texas

“It gets
hot in Colombia but it’s not the heat that we have here in summertime," he said. "With
time, my body will adjust a little bit to the heat. The bad thing about the
heat here is that you get so dehydrated when you’re training."

Even though
he has only been with FCD for about five weeks, all of his new teammates,
especially his two fellow Colombians, defender Jair Benitez and midfielder David
Ferreira, have embraced him and made him feel welcome with his new club.

“From the
very beginning, everyone welcomed me with open arms and I feel very
comfortable with them out on the field and playing with
them," he said. "I’ve seen some of our games and the options that we
have for scoring goals. My main objective is to try to finish those
opportunities that we’re creating.”

And while
every player would rather be playing games than practicing, he admits this
adjustment period has been a very good thing.

“I think
it’s benefited me a lot because it’s given me time to get right physically, get
adjusted to my teammates and the way we play," Rodriguez said. "Hopefully, by the time I am ready
to play I’ll be 100 percent physically and adjusted to the way we play."