Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Preseason News and Notes - 2/17

There has been a bit of Rapids news over the last couple of days.
  • Rapids lose their first preseason match against MLS competition 1-0 to Dallas.
The Rapids beat down a couple of college sides 3-0, but when they played some real competition their guns went silent. Looking at the lineups its obvious that Gary Smith wasn't concerned about the result, he was more interested in getting as many players time as he could. Understandable in pre-season, but given the lack of competition we seem to have this year I'd like to see a solid 11 play against other MLS teams.
  • Rapids sign Ihemelu and Cummings to long-term deals.
Ugo and Omar join Kimura, Harvey, LaBrocca, Clark, Pickens, and Mastroeni in getting new deals this offseason. That's a solid nucleus of young players and a couple of veterans to build the team around for the next couple of seasons. I'm not sold on these most recent two players (Ihemelu and Cummings) but I'm willing to give them another season to improve before writing them off. Almost as interesting are the long-term players who haven't gotten a new contract like Mehdi Ballouchy, Jacob Peterson, and Stephen Keel. Iy makes you wonder if they're on the outside looking in at the new reduced roster size.
  • Rapids are pursuing Jason Euell of Southampton.
I like the fact that the Rapids are looking for a new striker or attacking mid, and are willing to look overseas for an experienced player. I don't think a player that has bounced around the Championship and lower EPL sides like Euell has is necessarily the answer. I don't remember him as a player that really made his team better, more of one that raised or lowered his play to the level of the team. I will say that Bravo and Smith seem to be making good moves so far this offseason, so I'm willing to trust them to some extent, but if this is going to be our big offseason move (other than trading Gomez) then I hope its one that pays off. The Rapids have yet to be real successful with an international attacking player other than John Spencer.
  • Rapids announced Burgundy and Blue game plans
Since the Rapids moved into the Dick they have hosted a Burgundy & Blue intrasquad scrimmage the week before the opener. It was open to Commerce City residents and season ticket holders at no charge. This year they're changing up the plan for the game. It will be held on Tuesday March 24th, in between the season opener at Chivas and the home opener against KC. Instead of an intra-squad scrimmage the Rapids will play a full preseason game against Metro State College. The game will also be free admission for anyone who's interested, instead of limiting it to Commerce City references and season ticket holders. My only concern about this is the chance of tiring players out by playing a game in between two league matches. If its treated more like a reserve match though I've got no issues.

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