Colorado Rapids, Roster Updates

Rapids cut Gashi and acquire Green Card for Nicholson

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.

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Colorado Rapids, Roster Updates

With two internationals too many, the Rapids are not yet roster compliant

One of the seemingly-never-ending quirks of the MLS offseason is the pseudo-drama that arises from front offices desperately attempting to make their rosters compliant in advance of their club’s season openers. While Colorado does not face the problem of moving a fourth designated player that nobody wants, the Rapids still have some work to do in order to fulfill the arduous regulations enforced on MLS clubs.

A month from their season opener, the Colorado Rapids appear to be in need of two additional international slots.

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Colorado Rapids, Roster Updates

Joining Colorado a “Dream come true” for Hundley, Raben

Following a hectic SuperDraft weekend that added new blood to the Rapids’ roster ahead of their 2019 campaign, the Rapids held a special event Tuesday to announce the signing of two homegrown players: Matt Hundley and Sam Raben. The Colorado natives join Dillon Serna, Kortne Ford, Cole Bassett, and Sam Vines as Rapids academy alumni on contract with the first team.

“I’m feeling ecstatic,” Hundley beamed following the press conference, “It’s a dream come true. Being in my hometown to start my professional career is incredible.”

Raben was similarly enthusiastic about the next step in his career. “The more and more I do with the team, the more I get excited,” the versatile defender explained, I’ve been doing some pre-preseason workouts with the strength coach, Chad [Kolarcik], and it’s just really cool to see all the players – all the players I looked up to – come in and do the same things as me. It’s surreal.”

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Colorado Rapids, Roster Updates

Colorado solidifies first team depth during draft weekend

The Colorado Rapids traded away a fan favorite, but made some valuable acquisitions to strengthen their squad squad depth during the MLS SuperDraft. The weekend’s moves were the latest in a whirlwind of activity orchestrated by the Rapids front office ahead of the 2019 season.

Colorado Friday by announcing the successful signing of veteran midfielder, Benny Feilhaber. Half an hour later, the Rapids traded up to the fifth overall pick of the SuperDraft to select standout University of Denver striker, Andre Shinyashiki. Colorado finished the afternoon by drafting Marcello Borges (University of Michigan) and Jacob Hauser-Ramsey (University of Connecticut), but not before winger-turned-fullback Marlon Hairston was sent to the Houston Dynamo in exchange for $175,000 General Allocation Money.

Anthony Hudson expressed relief and pleasure after the completion of the second round of the draft, noting that the new additions “complement” the work done by General Manager Pádraig Smith, who has spearheaded Colorado’s activity in the MLS Primary Transfer Window.

“At the end of last season, we had so many scouting meetings, and we went through all the targets that we wanted,” Hudson explained, “Pádraig and our scouts have delivered.”

Colorado followed up Friday’s acquisitions by drafting Robbie Mertz with their seventy-sixth overall selection during the fourth round on Monday’s supplementary, conference-call draft.

In advance of Tuesday’s special announcement, it is necessary to critically evaluate the impact of these moves on Colorado’s ongoing roster rebuild and understand what role each player can serve in the first team.

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Colorado Rapids, In-Depth, Roster Updates

Another Year, Another Rapids Rebuild

To say the 2018 MLS Regular Season was a disappointment for the Colorado Rapids would be quite the understatement. Colorado endured two seven-game losing streaks, scored a league-low thirty-six goals, and finished third-to-last in the overall table with a measly thirty-one points. Despite brief glimpses of the “attacking football” pledged by the club’s front office, it was clear from two month into the season that the Rapids did not have the quality to compete on the same level as the top sides in Major League Soccer.

Throughout Colorado’s failure to make the playoffs in two consecutive seasons, General Manager Pádraig Smith has reiterated his promise of making Colorado a perennial postseason contender – an ideal initially manifested in his infamous 2017 editorial in the Denver Post. Now, one full year into the thus-far underwhelming Anthony Hudson project, there appears to be a glimmer of hope for the Rapids faithful.

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Colorado Rapids, Roster Updates

Caleb Calvert returns to Colorado from Charlotte loan

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The Colorado Rapids announced Friday that Caleb Calvert has returned to Denver from his loan to Charlotte Independence in the United Soccer League.

The 21-year-old American forward scored only one goal and registered two assists across his thirteen appearances with the Rapids’ USL affiliate club in 2018. Calvert joined Colorado after Chivas USA folded in 2014 and has spent four loan stints with the Independence.

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Colorado Rapids, Roster Updates

Rapids sign academy player Cole Bassett

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General Manager Pádraig Smith revealed Thursday that the Colorado Rapids have signed academy player Cole Bassett to a full-time contract. The announcement was made during a live question and answer session that the club hosted at Odell Brewing Company in downtown Denver. Colorado has yet to reveal the specifics of the contract offered.

Bassett, 17, joined the Rapids Developmental Academy from the Colorado Rush academy in 2017. Smith spoke highly of the talented midfielder, describing Bassett as “the best player” in his age group.

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