The 2020 Colorado Rapids have been assembled with clear purpose. Under the leadership of General Manager Pádraig Smith, the club’s Front Office has quietly built a team with a combination of exciting young prospects, reliable first team contributors entering their prime, and key veteran leaders. The missing pieces? The players that have yet to fill Colorado’s Designated Player roster spots.
The Colorado Rapids find themselves with a lot to be proud of after their last-ditch effort to make it into the postseason on Decision Day. The team has not one but two clinical finishers in Kei Kamara and Diego Rubio, two dynamic wingers in Sam Nicholson and Jonathan Lewis, Rookie of the Year Andre Shinyashiki, a solid midfield partnership of Kellyn Acosta and Jack Price, and fullbacks who can get up and down the wing in Keegan Rosenberry and Sam Vines. The biggest glaring issue for the Rapids is the situation at center back and goalkeeper. There also isn’t much to write about the team’s depth options. As of today, Lalas Abubakar has not completed a move and the option year of Tommy Smith’s contract has not been picked up (though contract negotiations have begun). With Kortne Ford’s health still unclear, the uncertainty of Danny Wilson’s playing ability, and the lack of options at center back, the Rapids have a huge hole in the back line to fix.
Columbus sources sure seem intent on ensuring that the Colorado Rapids overpay for central defender Lalas Abubakar. And why wouldn’t they? The Ghanaian was out of favor for the first two months of the Crew’s season – only managing one appearance before arriving to Denver on loan. If a club has a chance to garner an obscene fee for a bench player they’re going to take it every time.
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.
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.
The Colorado Rapids have traded midfielder Micheal Azira to the Montreal Impact “in exchange for a fourth round pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft,” according to an official announcement made by the club Wednesday afternoon.
The news breaks seven days after the Rapids loaned Azira to USL’s Colorado Springs Switchbacks. The Ugandan native made one appearance for the second division side (started in a 2-0 win against Oklahoma City Energy).
The midfielder never seemed capable of passing Jack Price and Danny Wilson on Colorado’s depth chart at his position. Azira only made five league appearances for the Rapids in the 2018 MLS season, tallying a mere 275 minutes of playing time.
The Colorado Rapids are in “advanced talks” to acquire left fullback Edgar Castillo from C.F. Monterrey on a permanent basis, according to a deadline-day report authored by John Rojas at Diario AS. Castillo – who has made twenty-two appearances for the Rapids after joining the club on loan from Los Rayados – would be rewarded with a multi-year contract if the deal is completed.
The news follows a 2-1 victory against the L.A. Galaxy, a game where the Mexican-American assisted the match-winning goal in front of a raucous crowd that included the defender’s agent, Chris Barbosa (Fútbol Marketing Group). Attacking contributions are not uncommon for the fullback, as Castillo has recorded two goals and three assists on the season, despite occupying a primarily-defensive role.