Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Rapids Trade General Allocation Money For International Slot

Today Colorado sent $100K of GAM to KC for an international slot for the 2018 season.  An expected move as we were two over our total of slots.  Now if Wynne goes on loan to Charlotte or somebody like Badji gets a green card we'll be in compliance on the international front.

Some fans thought this might be a precursor to finally signing a striker, but no, this was just something that needed to happen based on our existing signings.  I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact we won't sign a significant striker until the summer window.  The one possibility is that the EFL season (everything under the EPL in England) ends 2 days before the window closes so if we're targeting somebody who doesn't make the promotion playoffs they could come over in May.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Preseason Results and Players Heading Out

Time to catch up on the last couple of preseason games, but first a couple of pieces of player news.  Draftee Alan Winn was signed yesterday by Nashville SC of the USL.  Nashville is coached by former Rapids manager (and MLS Cup winner) Gary Smith and also features two members of that Cup winning team, Kosuke Kimura and Matt Pickens.  The Rapids now have only two draft picks in camp, GK Thomas Olsen (who's path to a roster spot was presumably blocked with the acquisition of Dykstra) and F Niki Jackson, who will feature later in this post.

Today the Rapids announced they had loaned Miked Da Fonte to Phoenix Rising FC of the USL.  The Rapids announced when they made their year-end roster moves that Da Fonte would be loaned out for 2018, the last year of his contract, so I'm going to remove him from the roster list now as while on loan he doesn't count against roster or salary caps.  Its safe to say we've seen the last of him in Colorado.

Now, on to the games.  I actually never got around to writing up last weekend's scrimmage with the KC, so lets start there.  These lineups are my best guesses at formation based on the box scores:

The starting XI:

KC scored twice on this lineup in the first half.  The second half lineup looked like:


Winn would get the last 15 minutes of the game.  This lineup played a scoreless half.

After a quick trip back to Colorado to pick up some new players and do laundry the team was back in Arizona for a game against UPSL side Sporting AZ yesterday.  The starting group:

Good to see signings Price and Smith with the team now.  This group would go 60 minutes and score twice, first from Castillo in the opening 2 minutes and then McBean got one 25 minutes in.  At the 60th minute mark the whole lineup swapped out for this group:


This group would also play 60 minutes (for a total of 120) and they ran rampant over the lower league side, as you would expect.  Calvert, Aigner, and Perez all got goals and Blomberg and Jackson each got 2, for a final score of 9-0.  Hard to draw a whole lot from a game against that level of competition but the team did what it was expected to do, so that's a good thing.

The next match is Wednesday against Phoenix Rising FC (now featuring Mike Da Fonte!) at 6pm and it will be streamed online, if you don't have Valentines Day plans and you're not watching the Olympics.

Signed Players:
* = international
HG = homegrown
DP = designated player

GK Andrew Dykstra
GK Tm Howard - DP
GK Zac MacMath
D Edgar Castillo
D Kip Colvey
D Kortne Ford - HG
D Marlon Hairston
D Eric Miller
D Axel Sjoberg
D Tommy Smith*
D Jared Watts
D Danny Wilson*
D Deklan Wynne*
M Bismark Adjei-Boateng*
M Stefan Aigner*
M Michael Azira
M Johan Blomberg*
M Shkelzen Gashi* - DP
M Sam Hamilton
M Ricardo Perez - HG
M Jack Price*
M Dillon Serna - HG
F Dominique Badji*
F Caleb Calvert - HG
F Jack McBean

Unsigned Draftees:
GK Thomas Olsen
F Niki Jackson

Trialists:
D Joel Johnson
M Enzo Martinez

Thursday, February 8, 2018

New Shirt, New Player, But Still No Striker

Two announcements from the Rapids today.  First the 2018 home jersey was unveiled:
Pretty straight forward.  Paired with light blue shorts and the burgundy socks it will look good on the field.  If I needed a new jersey I'd be happy to pick this one up but right now I've got a few others in the queue, namely Blackburn's road jersey and a Swedish National Team jersey before the World Cup.

One interesting note, with this burgundy kit the Rapids will have played in burgundy for 12 seasons.  They played in the original green for 7 seasons and the black and blue for 4 seasons, which means as of this year we've played in burgundy for a majority of our existence.

The other announcement was a bit of surprise, we traded our 2020 2nd round draft pick to KC for goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra.  He's 32 year old journeyman keeper that's spent time with Chicago, DC, and KC, as well as some USL teams, with 34 MLS starts in his career.

I'm a little surprised at this move as I expected that draftee Thomas Olsen had the inside track on the 3rd keeper spot.  This means that either Olsen isn't working out, or that this is the first move in a plan to trade MacMath.  Dykstra could be a backup keeper, he's done that successfully in his career, and MacMath is a nice trading chip for a team looking for a big upgrade at striker.  I kind of hope that's the plan because if we're keeping both Howard and MacMath I'd rather we take a shot on Olsen or another young keeper that might develop over Dykstra, who will probably never play a game this season barring simultaneous injuries to MacMath and Howard.

Signed Players:
* = international
HG = homegrown
DP = designated player

GK Andrew Dykstra
GK Tm Howard - DP
GK Zac MacMath
D Edgar Castillo
D Kip Colvey
D Mike da Fonte
D Kortne Ford - HG
D Marlon Hairston
D Eric Miller
D Axel Sjoberg
D Tommy Smith*
D Jared Watts
D Danny Wilson*
D Deklan Wynne*
M Bismark Adjei-Boateng*
M Stefan Aigner*
M Michael Azira
M Johan Blomberg*
M Shkelzen Gashi* - DP
M Sam Hamilton
M Ricardo Perez - HG
M Jack Price*
M Dillon Serna - HG
F Dominique Badji*
F Caleb Calvert - HG
F Jack McBean

Unsigned Draftees:
GK Thomas Olsen
F Niki Jackson
F Alan Winn

Trialists:
D Joel Johnson
M Enzo Martinez

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Recap Of First Scrimmage Under Hdson

Yesterday the Rapids held their first scrimmage under new coach Anthony Hudson, a 2-1 loss to Columbus.  Here's how they lined up at kickoff:


After 60 minutes the lineup shifted to:


Note, these formations are a best guess based on the lineups.

Zardes scored two minutes in but Ford leveled in the 26th by heading in a corner kick.  The Crew would get the winner in the 58th minute.

Gashi was held out as a precaution due to a tight calf, players like Price, Smith, and Wilson haven't yet arrived in camp though they were expected in the latter half of this week.  The next game is Saturday against KC.

Also today we found out the Charlotte Independence's Joel Johnson is also in camp.  Johnson is a 25 year old Liberian/Spanish right back who was born and raised in Spain, spending time with Valencia B and Real Madrid C before coming toe the States and joining Charlotte last season.  The camp list has been updated below.

Signed Players:
* = international
HG = homegrown
DP = designated player

GK Tm Howard - DP
GK Zac MacMath
D Edgar Castillo
D Kip Colvey
D Mike da Fonte
D Kortne Ford - HG
D Marlon Hairston
D Eric Miller
D Axel Sjoberg
D Tommy Smith*
D Jared Watts
D Danny Wilson*
D Deklan Wynne*
M Bismark Adjei-Boateng*
M Stefan Aigner*
M Michael Azira
M Johan Blomberg*
M Shkelzen Gashi* - DP
M Sam Hamilton
M Ricardo Perez - HG
M Jack Price*
M Dillon Serna - HG
F Dominique Badji*
F Caleb Calvert - HG
F Jack McBean

Unsigned Draftees:
GK Thomas Olsen
F Niki Jackson
F Alan Winn

Trialists:
D Joel Johnson
M Enzo Martinez

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Lack Of A Striker Looms Over Rapids

No, not that type of striker

Today started with a rumor that the Rapids were chasing Preston Eoin Doyle, only for it to get squashed in a matter of hours as he was loaned back to Oldham before the English transfer window closed at the end of the day.  In ended with news that attacking draft picks Brian Iloski and Frantzdy Pierrot are passing up their chance to make MLS for trials in Europe.  In-between Colorado scrimmaged Columbus to a 2-1 loss, more on that tomorrow.  The only new name in the scrimmage was midfielder Enzo Martinez who has been a USL player for the last 5 seasons, the last 3 with Colorado affiliate Charlotte.

Now this offseason has brought a solid rebuild of the defense for the new formation, good upgrades in midfield, and no help in attack.  The Rapids have been linked with forwards Eion Doyle, Claudiu Keseru, Lee Nguyen, Ross McCormack, and Aldo Kalulu.  That's just the names from the last month.  Notice something about them?  None of them are here.  We had a Front Office that set a goal of having all the key components signed by last Monday when camp started and we have yet to sign a striker with any type of top-level experience.  We currently have a total of three signed forwards, two of which have played more than 2/3rds of their career appearances in USL games and have five MLS goals between them.

We have a CCL game in 20 days.  Anyone we sign from outside the league is going to need a week or so to get moved over to the U.S., get paperwork done, etc.  That means if we announce somebody tomorrow the best we can hope fir is about a week and half to get to know the team before our match.  Realistically the only one of those names that might be close is Keseru and we've heard no rumors in the least week or so that a signing is imminent.  So more than likely we're looking at a week and a half before we can expect a striker to be training with the team, about a week before the CCL game.

This offseason has shown new purpose and focus from the Front Office, but it won't pay off if there's nobody to score goals.  Until this hole is filled this team is going to be incomplete and our hopes for the CCL and 2018 season short lived.  We don't need a home run signing but, to torture the analogy, we need a least a double that can be stretched into a triple.   This isn't an easy thing to do, the last time the Rapids signed an double-digit scorer from outside the league (not traded for or drafted) the year was 2001 and the player was John Spencer (who would also score double-digits in 2003), but it a must have if the team is going to be successful and if the fanbase is going to have faith in the new leadership.

Signed Players:
* = international
HG = homegrown
DP = designated player

GK Tm Howard - DP
GK Zac MacMath
D Edgar Castillo
D Kip Colvey
D Mike da Fonte
D Kortne Ford - HG
D Marlon Hairston
D Eric Miller
D Axel Sjoberg
D Tommy Smith*
D Jared Watts
D Danny Wilson*
D Deklan Wynne*
M Bismark Adjei-Boateng*
M Stefan Aigner*
M Michael Azira
M Johan Blomberg*
M Shkelzen Gashi* - DP
M Sam Hamilton
M Ricardo Perez - HG
M Jack Price*
M Dillon Serna - HG
F Dominique Badji*
F Caleb Calvert - HG
F Jack McBean

Unsigned Draftees:
GK Thomas Olsen
F Niki Jackson
F Alan Winn

Trialists:
M Enzo Martinez