Season Review

All 2019 Rapids Report Cards

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.

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Rapids Journal

Defense Defines Colorado’s Initial Winter Transfers

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.

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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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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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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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