Monday, February 8, 2016

Last Game In San Diego

In their last action before leaving San Diego the Rapids placed the USL Orange County Blues in a preseason scrimmage.

Starting XI:

(t) - Trialist
(d) - Draftee

Calvert
Solignac - Powers - Ekra(t)
Azira - Kamdem(d)
Williams - Sjoberg - Burling - Castillo(d)
MacMath

The game was played as 3 30 minute periods.  Calvert scored shortly into the second period to make it 1-0.  Midway through the second period the Rapids did a complete lineup substitution.

Doyle
Pfeffer - Ownby(t) - Badji
Cronin - Watts
Burch - Greenspan - Keel(t) - Hairston
Froschaeur(d)

Doyle scored near the end to make the final score 2-0.

Greenspan is with the team in San Diego.  His ship is based out of the base there so I assume he's on shore leave or other temporary duty from the Navy to train with the team this last week or so.  He is not expected to be with the team during the season.

Starting a tally of minutes played this preseason by draftees/trialists:

Draftees:
Castillo: 90
Froschauer: 90
Kamdem: 90
Appiah: 45
Torre: 45
Manga: 0

Trialists:
Ekra: 90
Keel: 90
Ownby: 90

Sunday, February 7, 2016

No, This Does Not Mean Kamara Is Coming To Colorado

Kei Kamara posted this on Instagram earlier today.  Its a picture of him riding the Colorado Rapids skateboard he got as a gift when he was here for last year's All-Star Game.

This has gotten some Rapids fans excited that its a hint he's about to move to Colorado.  He's not.  We had the same discussion in the fan base 7 months ago when he first tweeted out the picture of the skateboard and sure enough he didn't come to Colorado.  He's taking advantage of a nice day to ride his skateboard.  That's all.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

First Action Of The Preseason

The Rapids played their first "real" scrimmage today against Seongnam FC of South Korea.  Here's the lineup for the first half (assuming we stuck with the 4-2-3-1 we've been using):

(t) - Trialist
(d) - Draftee

Calvert
Pfeffer - Ekra(t) - Badji
Watts - Cronin
Castillo(d) - Burling - Sjobeg - Kamdem(d)
Froschauer(d)

At halftime it was 1-1 with this goal from Ekra:



Full substitutions in the second half:

Doyle
Solignac - Powers - Ownby(t)
Azira - Appiah(d)
Burch - Torre(d) - Keel(t) - Hairston
MacMath

(I flip-flopped Appiah and Powers from the way the lineup was presented by the Rapids.  It seems more likely to how the played)

Game ended 4-2 Rapids with all 3 second half goals coming fro Kevin Doyle, the first two in the first 5 minutes of the half off of headers.  Here's the third:



The other news today was that the Rapids, as expected, made the Mekeil Williams signing official.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Rapids Add Gashi As DP, Williams As Well


BIG news from Commerce City today that nobody saw coming.  Colorado announced their newest Designated Player, Shkëlzen Gashi.  Who?  Yeah, pretty much everyone had that reaction (and because of that ë I'm just going to refer to him as Gashi from now on).

Gashi is a 27 year old winger/striker from Zurich.  The last two years he's been the Golden Boot winner in the Swiss league.  He's also has played 10 times in the last 2.5 years for the Albanian National Team, getting the winner in a 2-1 comeback over Armenia in Euro 2016 qualifying.

Two years ago he won the Golden Boot with Grasshopper, scoring 19 goals in 32 appearances.  He was then purchased by Basel, the biggest team in Switzerland and a regular Champions League participant (making the round of 16 last year),  Last season he scored 22 goals in 31 appearances to win the Golden Boot again.

Last summer (the Swiss offseason) Basel had a change  in manager and the new coach changed the way Gashi was used, restricting his style more.  Also there's apparently an undercurrent working against Albanian players in Switzerland this year as both National Teams are in the same Euro group next summer.  In the half season he scored 3 times in 10 appearances.

Gashi is generally lined up at the left attacking winger spot but the prior two years was give a more free role in the attack, allowed to drift to where he could be successful.  He's described as a poacher, not a setup man, so we'll need somebody to get him the ball in dangerous locations.  He can also play up top in a standard two striker setup.

This is a great signing by the Front Office and really one of the moves we needed to make.  An attacking player in the middle of his career with a top goal-scoring track record.  Reports in Switzerland say we've signed him until 2019 which is a serious long-term deal so that's a positive s well.  The  move from the Swiss league to MLS won't be that big of a change in quality, depending on who you talk to the leagues are seen as slightly better or worse than each other but not a big difference.  Obviously with Albania in the Euros we'll lose him for June and maybe late May but unless Albania makes an amazing run it should only be a couple of games.  Hats off to Bravo and Co. for this signing.

Along with the larger news of Gashi today there was also this news from Antigua GFC of the Guatemalan league.  Defender Mekeil Williams has been transferred to the Rapids.  No official word from Colorado yet but I assume they didn't want to distract focus from today's big signing and we'll hear something tomorrow.  Williams can play left back and center back though it sounds like he mainly plays outside.  He's 25 years old and has played 10 times for the Trinidad & Tobago National Team since 2012.

The final bit of news is that the Sarvas deal became official.  We got Targeted Allocation Money and a conditional 2018 Superdraft pick in exchange.  According to reports we also picked up about half Sarvas' 2016 salary.  I don't love eating the salary but if it frees up enough room to make another couple of quality moves it will be worth it.

Current roster:

GK John Berner
GK Zac MacMath
D March Burch
D Bobby Burling
D Marlon Hairston
D Axel Sjoberg
D Sean St. Ledger
D Mekeil Williams
M Michael Azira
M Sam Cronin
M Marco Pappa
M Zach Pfeffer
M Dillon Powers
M Dillon Serna
M Jared Watts
F Dominque Badji
F Caleb Calvert
F Kevin Doyle
Shkëlzen Gashi
F Luis Solignac

Unsigned draftees:

GK Chris Froschauer
D Dennis Castillo
D Bradley Kamdem
D Javan Torre
M Emmanuel Appiah
F John Manga

Trialists:

D Stephen Keel
M Yann Ekra - Charlotte
M Brian Ownby - Richmond

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sarvas To DC

Stevben Goff is reporting and I've heard the same from other sources that Marcelo Sarvas has been traded to DC United for allocation money.  Expect an announcement today or tomorrow it sounds like.

This leaves Powers, Cronin, and Powers to power (no pun intended) the center of the midfield.  That's not a bad center of the park but that assume's Pappa will be available (not suspended) and there's no depth.  If we put Serna and Pfeffer(?) on the wings that leaves Azira and Watts as our only midfielders on the bench.

You would assume that will all the allocation money we're gathering we've got a couple of signings in mind but those need to happen NOW.  Right now in camp we have 18 players (of a possible 28) under contract and with Pappa and Serna recovering only 16 available to train (that's assuming St. Ledger has arrived).  We need to have our whole team in camp right now and learning how to work together.  We can't find a couple of high priced signing in three weeks and expect to be ready by the season that starts five weeks from tomorrow.

Current roster:

GK John Berner
GK Zac MacMath
D March Burch
D Bobby Burling
D Marlon Hairston
D Axel Sjoberg
D Sean St. Ledger
M Michael Azira
M Sam Cronin
M Marco Pappa
M Zach Pfeffer
M Dillon Powers
M Dillon Serna
M Jared Watts
F Dominque Badji
F Caleb Calvert
F Kevin Doyle
F Luis Solignac

Unsigned draftees:

GK Chris Froschauer
D Dennis Castillo
D Bradley Kamdem
D Javan Torre
M Emmanuel Appiah
F John Manga

Trialists:

D Stephen Keel
M Yann Ekra - Charlotte
M Brian Ownby - Richmond