In-Depth, Preseason

2019 Season Preview: Rapids Positional Power Rankings

The long preseason grind for the Colorado Rapids has reached its inevitable conclusion: the start of the regular season. The objective for the organization? To return to the promised land of MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2016.

After a flurry of offseason activity, a noticeable level of hype is slowly starting to build around the Rocky Mountain side. Some of the league’s own media outlets are actually acknowledging Colorado’s existence for once and preseason results have led to a measured sense of optimism emanating from the coaching staff.

The Rapids’ roster has gone through its fair share of reconstruction over the past two years, leaving Colorado with only four players who were part of the team’s mythical Supporter’s Shield run in 2016 and quite a few unknowns to boot. Suffice to say, there are a lot of new faces in Burgundy for 2019 – here is how they stack up against one another in every position of Anthony Hudson’s 4-4-2-Diamond.

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Preseason

Colorado’s depth chart takes shape in first preseason match

The Colorado Rapids concluded their first stage of their preseason training at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida with a 1-0 loss to MLS expansion side F.C. Cincinnati. Forrest Lasso – one of several Cincinnati players from the club’s USL era – scored the match-winning goal off of a corner in the fifty-ninth minute.

The result, like most preseason games, is largely irrelevant. Kendall Waston was notably shown red in the first half for a rough challenge, but teams in preseason typically allow ejected players to be replaced so the match remains even. Neither team was at full fitness and both sides effectively played a different squad in each half. Furthermore, the match was not aired and no statistics have been made publicly available – so speculating about individual performances is largely a futile effort.

However, the scrimmage did give a glimpse into how Head Coach Anthony Hudson views Colorado’s depth after a week and a half of preseason training. With nine players on trial at the club and four roster spots available, February is prime time for the Rapids coaching staff to evaluate new talent.

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Preseason

Three things to watch for in Colorado’s preseason

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.

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