Rick Yeatts

Milton Rodriguez nearing full fitness

Ever 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 heat.

“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."