Multiplereportssurfaced out of Argentina this week suggesting that the Colorado Rapids participated a meeting with representatives of Club Atlético Colón to discuss the early sale of Braian Galván. The Argentinian Youth International will join the Rapids when his contract expires in July at the latest, regardless of what’s ultimately decided in a series of talks reportedly held in Miami, FL.
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.
Above everything else, 2019 was a year of upheaval for the Colorado Rapids. With mother nature’s constant weather interruptions, the plague descending upon the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, and three managers, the year has been a remarkable journey for those who follow the torrid adventures of Colorado’s MLS offering.
Colorado’s defense has seemingly taken shape for 2020, thanks to a flurry of moves over the last two weeks. Sam Vines and Keegan Rosenberry are all but guaranteed to return as starting fullbacks, with fan favorite Lalas Abubakar and newly acquired U.S. Youth International Auston Trusty anchoring the center.
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.
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.
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.
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.