Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Roster Moves

Yesterday the Rapids made 4 roster moves to get to roster compliance. Draftee Steward Ceus became the third goalkeeper on the roster when he signed a development contract, and last year's players Justin Hughes, Kwamie Sarkodie, and Cesar Zambrano were waived. None of the three players logged significant time with the first team in prior years. The closest was Justin Hughes who got caught in a battle with Ceus for the 3rd GK spot, and losing all of last season to injury did not help his prospects.

With the moves the Rapids have 22 of a possible 24 players on their roster, and 5 other players in camp competing for the last two spots. These 22 players included the recently unretired Ty Harden, who has signed a contract with the team but has not been playing in recent preseason games due to injury, and Ivan Guerrero, who was acquired from DC United int he Gomez trade. It does not include Gregory Richardson who's rights the Rapids acquired last week from Toronto but who has not been signed yet. The 22 rostered players are (bold indicates a new contract this offseason):

Mehdi Ballouchy (MID)
Preston Burpo (GK)
Conor Casey (FWD)
Steward Ceus (GK)
Colin Clark (MID)
Nico Colaluca (MID)
Terry Cooke (MID)
Omar Cummings (FWD)
Greg Dalby (MID)
John DiRaimondo (MID)
Cory Gibbs (DEF)
Ivan Guerrero (MID)
Ty Harden (DEF)
Jordan Harvey (DEF)
Ugo Ihemelu (DEF)
Stephen Keel (DEF)
Kosuke Kimura (DEF)
Nick LaBrocca (MID)
Pablo Mastroeni (MID)
Ciaran O’Brien (MID)
Jacob Peterson (MID)
Matt Pickens (GK)

The 5 players still competing for a spot are:
Kwame Adjeman-Pamboe (FWD) - Draft pick
Mike Holody (DEF) - Draft pick
Gregory Richardson (FWD) - 2nd Round pick to Toronto to get rights
Ross Schunk (FWD) - Draft pick
Serge Wawa (DEF) - Trialist

Breaking it down by position for all players in camp:
GK - 3 (2 new contracts)
DEF - 7 (2 unsigned, 4 new contracts)
MID - 11 (3 new contracts)
FWD - 5 (3 unsigned, 1 new contract)

As you can see, the rapids have the goalkeeper spot decided, and are solid in midfield as well. Defense is close, only 3 backups for a 4 man back-line doesn't leave a lot of depth so Holody ow Wawa have a shot of making the team but with players like Pablo and Gurrero who can move back from midfield to fill in there's some real competition.

The weakest spot is forward, with only 2 players under contract, plus Jacob Peterson who's spent time up front. With 3 forwards in camp but unsigned there's some real competition for those slots. The Rapids felt good enough about Richardson to trade a draft pick for him, and Gary Smith has had good things to say about Schunk, so Adjeman-Pamboe seems to be the odd man out.

If I had to pick I would guess that Richardson and Schunk get the last two spots to give us depth up front, with Wawa maybe taking the spot from Schunk or hanging around if a player has to start the season on IR. Adjeman-Pamboe and Holody probably have some significant work to do int he next 3 weeks if they're going to make the roster.


Allen said...

I'm not surprised to see the Rapids letting go a few players like Justin Hughes. It was bound to happen to a few promising players smaller roster this year.

I would be curious why the Rapids with the smaller roster feel they have to carry a 3rd GK. Did the league drop having a league GK or three? After all, what are the chances that Pickens will miss even a single game. Seems like they'd be better served using that spot for a field player.

Jason Maxwell said...

The league still has pool keepers, one of which trains with the Rapids. Smith said in his interview with wewantrapidsman last year that Burpo might become a player/coach this season, so I'm guessing that's why we kept a third GK. The position might be better served, given the roster limits, on a field player but the team might see the savings of a player/coach as opposed to a separate GK coach as worth it.

Allen said...

Thanks for the insight. I'd be curious if Smith would go with 2 GK if Burpo wasn't looking to fill 2 roles.

...wait, didn't Ian Feuer [sic] recently join the Rapids as a GK coach?

Jason Maxwell said...

Oh yeah, good point. So much for that idea.

Yeah, then I really think keeping a 3rd keeper is overkill, and if you are keeping 3 why not keep the cheaper and bigger upside Hughes instead of the journeyman Burpo/