Cynical observers of the post-Hudson bump experienced by the Rapids in 2019 regularly commented that the shift in form wouldn’t be sustainable. As the club enters the final week of preseason, Colorado appears poised to assuage all doubts.
“As we put a group together we start to see these sorts of cohesive ideas,” Head Coach Robin Fraser said of the Rapids’ style of play following the club’s 4-2 drubbing of Chicago Fire F.C. in the club’s first public preseason match. “It feels like we’re moving in the right direction.”
Saturday’s match exhibited that Colorado’s ideas behind attacking, possession-with-purpose soccer hadn’t died with the threat of the plague-ridden rodents surrounding Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
After a busy week that saw the Colorado Rapids finalize terms with three major attacking talents, the first team reported to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for physicals Saturday morning. The offseason is finally over and we’ll soon have our first glimpse of the 2020 Colorado Rapids. Several years of roster building and three coaches have brought the Rapids to this moment, leaving supporters in anxious anticipation for Opening Day.
The Colorado Rapids first team reported for preseason training Monday morning, forty days ahead of their regular season opener against the Portland Timbers. The second year of the Anthony Hudson project in Colorado has officially begun, and Rapids supporters find themselves relatively optimistic.
A busy Primary Transfer Window has brought MLS veterans, rising stars, and academy standouts to the Rocky Mountains. However, with two nasty years in the rear view mirror, Colorado still has quite a bit of work to accomplish in order to reach their goal of qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2019.
Colorado’s preseason schedule will first take the squad to Bradenton, Florida for a week of training and a match against MLS expansion side F.C. Cincinnati. The team will then travel to Chula Vista, California for matches against Ventura County Fusion, the University of San Diego, and Toronto F.C., before closing out the month of February with a pair of away friendlies against Las Vegas Lights F.C. and the L.A. Galaxy.
With quite a few fresh faces in the squad, preseason serves as a chance for the Rapids’ coaching staff to evaluate and observe the new talent directly. Practically speaking, viewers should expect significant rotation, a large amount of minutes given to new players, and experimental lineup choices. Without further ado, here are three things to keep your eye on ahead of the 2019 season.
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.
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.