Colorado Rapids, In-Depth

Pádraig, Call the Crew’s Bluff

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 attempted price gouging in-and-of-itself isn’t necessarily unexpected. What is surprising is how deliberately obvious the Crew’s strategy is regarding the transfer. When Ben Ferree published “Colorado Rapids willing to spend over $1 million to get Columbus Crew CB Lalas Abubakar” in Pro Soccer USA earlier this month, I immediately knew that the sources would either be from the Crew’s camp or completely unattributed. Though the Columbus-based journalist chose to cite the latter, the fact that it was Ferree’s work and not the outlet’s Denver correspondent certainly indicates that this story came from the Crew’s side. After all, the same piece made it clear that Columbus believes Colorado to be one of “several teams” interested, a claim repeated nearly verbatim in the Columbus Dispatch – and nowhere else – weeks later (notably, according to the defender himself, it’s Colorado or bust).

At this point you should be asking yourself: “How would the Crew’s camp know what the Rapids are willing to pay?”

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Colorado Rapids, Roster Updates

Colorado solidifies first team depth during draft weekend

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.

Colorado Friday by announcing the successful signing of veteran midfielder, Benny Feilhaber. Half an hour later, the Rapids traded up to the fifth overall pick of the SuperDraft to select standout University of Denver striker, Andre Shinyashiki. Colorado finished the afternoon by drafting Marcello Borges (University of Michigan) and Jacob Hauser-Ramsey (University of Connecticut), but not before winger-turned-fullback Marlon Hairston was sent to the Houston Dynamo in exchange for $175,000 General Allocation Money.

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.

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Colorado Rapids, In-Depth, Roster Updates

Another Year, Another Rapids Rebuild

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.

Throughout Colorado’s failure to make the playoffs in two consecutive seasons, General Manager Pádraig Smith has reiterated his promise of making Colorado a perennial postseason contender – an ideal initially manifested in his infamous 2017 editorial in the Denver Post. Now, one full year into the thus-far underwhelming Anthony Hudson project, there appears to be a glimmer of hope for the Rapids faithful.

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Colorado Rapids, Roster Updates

Michael Azira traded to Montreal Impact

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.

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Colorado Rapids, Transfer Rumors

Report: Colorado finalizing deal to acquire Edgar Castillo permanently

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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.

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Colorado Rapids, Roster Updates

Rapids return international roster slot to Minnesota

The Colorado Rapids announced today that the club has returned their vacant “international roster spot to Minnesota United Football Club for the 2018 season in exchange for $50,000 in General Allocation Money.”

Colorado originally acquired the one-year international slot in the early-season trade that brought Sam Nicholson to the Rapids in exchange for Eric Miller and $50,000 GAM.

The trade certainly indicates that Colorado is not interested in bringing in any more international players during this transfer window. Given that the slot would have returned to Minnesota following the completion of the 2018 season, it makes sense that the Rapids would try to recoup what it spent on securing the slot in the first place.

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Colorado Rapids, Roster Updates

Badji out, Acosta in

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F.C. Dallas and U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Kellyn Acosta has been traded to the Colorado Rapids, the club announced Monday.

In exchange, Colorado parts ways with leading goalscorer Dominique Badji and an international roster slot. The clubs have also agreed “to swap first round picks in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft,” while Colorado receives FCD’s second round selection. Both teams “will retain 50% of any international transfer value through the 2020 secondary transfer window.”

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