The Colorado Rapids revealed Friday that the club has opted to waive Albanian Designated Player Shkëlzen Gashi. Additionally, Sam Nicholson appears to have acquired a Green Card during the off-season – a development first reported by the Endline Podcast Thursday morning.
Finalizing the two roster adjustments was necessary for Colorado to meet MLS’s domestic player restrictions for the 2019 regular season. Heading into preseason, the club had eight international players and only six spots to utilize.
A source familiar with the decision to waive Gashi’s contract acknowledged that the forward had not performed well enough in preseason to justify inclusion on the regular season roster. Gashi was not cut because Colorado has imminent plans to acquire another Designated Player (though this move does make a high-budget summer addition possible). Rather, the Albanian international simply failed to impress in training – leaving management no other option besides waiving the player.
Gashi, 30, joined Colorado in 2016 as a Designated Player after several years of excellent play in the Swiss Super League. During his first season, the forward recorded thirteen goal contributions in thirty appearances. However, Gashi’s production took a dramatic dip the following seasons. Questions were raised about his commitment to fitness, as well as his overall performance. Gashi served as a relatively fringe player in Colorado’s 2018 campaign – not a sentence typically written of MLS’s highest earners.
For Nicholson, receiving a green card exponentially increases the utility of a player who really failed to make a case at any position in Hudson’s diamond during 2018. It is certainly much easier to stomach keeping around a backup player if they are considered domestic from a roster construction perspective.
The Scottish midfielder, 24, was acquired by the Rapids in a 2018 trade with Minnesota United F.C.
Update (Mar. 2, 2019): MLS has yet to receive the necessary paperwork to confirm Nicholson’s status as a Green Card holder. Nicholson will be loaned out and unavailable for selection in Colorado’s first team until the situation is resolved.
The Rapids Republic Roster Tracker will be updated to reflect these changes.
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