Sunday, December 10, 2017

TAM, Affiliation, and Expansion Draft

There's been a few stories of note since Friday, so we'll go through them all in one post.

First, the league announced $1.2 million in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) each of the next two years.  They also announced that each team could self-fund an additional $2.8 million in TAM each of the next two years.  Essentially they said that teams could spend up to $4 million on TAM players each of the next two years, and the league will cover the first $1.2 million of it.  To remind everyone, TAM is used to sign players that would normally be Designated Players but the TAM brings their salary below the salary max for a standard player.  Players signed with TAM have to have a total cost (salary+transfer fee) of $1.5 million or less and you can convert a DP to a TAM player but you must sign a new DP player to replace him.

This is not great news for traditionally low-spending/small-market teams, like the Rapids.  This will quickly split teams into haves and have nots as those owners who are comfortable spending will spend all $4 million and those who aren't will just spend the league covered $1.2 million.  That $2.8 million difference could have a huge effect on rosters.  I guess now we'll know how interested KSE is in being competitive versus just existing.

The silver lining though is that now that we know the number we might start to see some movement in player signings.  A number of Front Offices have complained to reporters that the question about how much TAM would be available was causing them to delay signings.  Maybe we'll get a signing (or 2?) before Christmas?

Secondly the Rapids announced that the affiliation with the USL Charlotte Independence will be extended though the 2018 season.  The fact that this is just a one year deal leads me to believe that the Front Office has bigger long-term plans than affiliating with Charlotte but they have enough to deal with this offseason with all the new leadership so its easier to just extend it for another year and deal with the long-term plans next offseason.  The relationship with Charlotte came out of the time that Hinchey spent there working with the Bobcats along-side some of the Independence owners so I'm not surprised that with his departure that relationship may be reexamined.

Lastly the available players for Tuesday's expansion draft have been announced.  We can then extrapolate who's on the Rapids protection list, and there's really no surprises.  When I made my forecast a little over a month ago I picked 10 names and left the last spot open to be based on the best info the coaches had.  That was before we knew Saeid asked for his release, but the other 9 names on my list were protected, along with Miller and Watts.  (and of course, our four homegrown players were automatically protected).  In fact, the only exposed players the Rapids have under contract next season are Mike da Fonte (no way he gets chosen, and no loss if he does) and Sam Hamilton (he won't get chosen with the other options out there).  So the Rapids should come through this unscathed and with no surprises.

Also, shout-out to Rapids legend and all around fan favorite Drew Moor for picking up his second ring last night!  He's 2-1 now in MLS Cups, all played in Toronto.  Clint Irwin gets his first ring as well.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Give Junior Agogo Some Love

This is copied from Centennial 38's page but I'm helping organize this effort (I actually wrote this for them).  Show Junior some love this holiday season.

Any long-time fans might remember striker Junior Agogo, who played for the Rapids in 2000 and the first half of 2001 before being traded to San Jose. Junior was a fan favorite while here and after leaving MLS he spent a lot of time in England before finishing his career in Egypt, Cyprus, and Scotland. In January of 2015 Junior had a stroke. Recently he was interviewed as part of the BBC4 documentary ‘Speechless’ where he discussed the aphasia he’s dealt with since the stroke and how the difficulty in communicating has made him anxious and less outgoing. If you remember watching him play, being outgoing was never a difficulty for him. During the interview he mentioned that he doesn’t hear from any of his former teammates, specifically from his other Ghanaian national team teammates.
Some clips from the documentary can be found in the following link:
Upon hearing this news, Centennial 38 reached out and made contact with Junior to extend our well-wishes. We are also working with the Rapids to put together a care package to send to him in London that will let him know that his fans in Colorado are thinking about him as he copes with his circumstances. We’d like to give fans a chance to send him messages of support. Please leave your message to him here and we’ll print them out and include them with the care package.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

CCL Draw, Preseason Plans, and Castillo Incoming?

Lots of news aside from Hudson today.  Taking it roughly in order.

CONCACAF announced the draw for the 2018 CCL today.  Colorado will be the one MLS/Liga MX team in Pot B, the other 8 teams will be in Pot 1.  Under the competition rules we can't be drawn against an American team in the first round so we know our opponent will be one of Toronto, Chivas, Club America, Tigres, or Tijuana.  Colorado will host the first leg as the Pot B. team.

The seeding were based on the results of the teams in each slot over the last 5 CCL competitions.  So as the team in the USA4 slot our pot placement was based on the CCL results of the last 5 teams in the USA4 slot.  That results in us being in a tie with Dallas, the USA2 slot holder, for the final spot in Pot A but presumably, since USA2 is a "higher" spot than USA4, they got the final pot A spot.

The draw will be on Dec. 18th with the games in late February.  I don't love our chances but a home snowstorm at altitude might be a nice equalizer.

That was followed by this tweet from Spanish sports reporter John E. Rojas that the rumor linking U.S. Nat Edgar Castillo to the Rapids will be come a reality in the next few days.  Castillo is a 31 year old left back who has played his whole career in Mexico and played for the Mexican Nats before making a one time switch to the U.S. in 2009.  He played somewhat regularly for the Nats between 2009-2013 (but not in the World Cup) including in the 1-0 win at the Azteca.  He appeared once in 2014 and then in both qualifiers against Guatemala in 2016.

This would be a huge upgrade at left back, one of the biggest holes the Rapids have.  At 31 he's not a long-term prospect but he still should have 3 or so good seasons in him.  This would be a solid move for the FO and a good sign that they are addressing areas of need.

Finally the end of the Denver Post article about the Hudson signing had some information about our preseason plans.  Camp will open on Jan. 22nd, the earliest day allowed by the CBA, and on the 24th the team will head to Casa Grande for an intense preseason camp to prepare for the CCL.  The team will participate in the Desert Diamond Cup but depending on the CCL schedule it may be a split squad that gets left behind in Tucson while the first team returns to Denver and/or goes on the road for the legs of the CCL.

I'm glad to see the team has a plan already in place to deal with the tight time window between the allowed start of preseason and the CCL.  Its not much, you think every team would have this figured out, but in the past the Rapids FO, at least publicly, hasn't always seemed that organized about preseason matters.

That's all for today, which is plenty.  I love having an active FO in the offseason, its a nice change, but a little more spacing of the major announcements  would be appreciated.  :D

Rapids Finally Make Hudson Offical

What we hope the rest of the league is thinking right now

Fair warning, you're going to have to get used to Bill Paxton from Aliens gifs for a while as there's enough quotable Hudson lines to keep me entertained for at least the offseason.  Today Colorado announced what we all knew was coming, Anthony Hudson is the new head coach.  We've talked plenty about his background in past posts so there's not much more to say about him.

My reaction is a bit of "eh, we'll see if this works".  He talks the talk and his players and other people associated with him all speak highly of him.  I like his reported attention to detail and willingness to accept some newer coaching methods and statistical analysis.  His lack of fully professional club coaching experience is still a big weakness though and I wasn't overly impressed with his coaching decisions in the recent Peru playoff series.  This isn't a horrible hire but its not one that's got me super excited for next season either.  Certainly he's a better hire at the time than Pablo was and arguably Smith.  Those two both came with more knowledge of the organization but significantly less experience.

There was news today as well on the CCL draw, a player rumor, and preseason plans.  I'll cover that in another update either tonight or tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

News On Mohammed Saeid

Yesterday's roster moves contained only one real surprise, the Rapids not picking up Mo Saeid's option.  Today the Rapids media director tweeted the following:
We would have loved to keep Mo. A great player and even better person. Unfortunately, due to some personal circumstances, Mo asked for his option not to be picked up. We respected those wishes and will very much miss having him around. Wish him the best.
Obviously this was the right move by the team and I think I speak for all Rapids fans when I say that I hope whatever Mo is dealing with works out for the better and wish him luck on his next step.