Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rapids News and Notes - January 29th

Lots of news today. First the USMNT camp roster was announced for the US - Mexico game next month. Rapids Ugo Ihemelu and Matt Pickens have been invited to camp. The roster will be supplemented by European based players com the week of the game, so there's a decent chance neither player will be on the game day roster.

Second, we had our first preseason coverage from the Denver Post. Lots of interesting tidbits here, so let's break it down bit by bit.

Smith confirmed the team had entertained offers for winger Terry Cooke and is still open to a deal for Christian Gomez.

In the case of Cooke, who has led the team in assists the past three seasons, Smith said, "it's not like we've thrown him out there as bait to anyone."

As for Gomez, who is bothered by a sore groin: "I am definitely prepared to adapt what I want to do for Christian, as long as he wants to meet me halfway in some way," Smith said.

This confirms what many Rapids fans felt last year. Gomez being relegated to the bench wasn't only because of skill, it was also Christian and Smith not being on the same page. Combined with the rumors coming out of DC about them wanting Gomez back, I wouldn't be surprised to see him heading back there before the first game. The quote about offers from Cooke is interesting. No player is untouchable on this squad, but trading Cooke should only be considered if we're getting a top player in return.

"We've got a couple bodies in the pipeline, one or two from Europe, which may be pretty difficult to get in straightaway," Smith said.

The transfer window for international players closes April 15 and won't open again until June. Smith also said he has "a couple" players from South America who won't arrive until later in the preseason.

Hearing about possible new players is always good, but why do the Rapids always wait until late in the preseason to add their new international players? Why can't we get these players signed right at the opening of the transfer window so they can join the team early in camp?

Cory Gibbs revealed he pulled out of the U.S. national team camp ahead of its Jan. 24 friendly against Sweden at the behest of Smith. Gibbs said Smith was concerned the defender, who had injury issues before joining the Rapids last August, might put too much stress on his body with the extra training prior to the regular season.

Smith said he spoke with national team coach Bob Bradley about his concerns and they ended in agreement

Maybe its just me, but I find it concerning that the most experienced central defender can't attend an offseason National Team camp because the coach is worried about injury. Seems like you'd want your star defender to have a bit more toughness than that.

The Rapids remain on the shortlist of clubs still without a shirt sponsor after the San Jose Earthquakes announced this week a three-year deal, worth a reported $2 million to $3 million a year, with Amway Global.

Managing director Jeff Plush said the club is fairly close to the same place it was last season in terms of finding a partner, and added the global economic slump isn't making things easier.

So after a full year we're no closer? That seems like an opportunity the Rapids have failed to capitalize one.

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