Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rapids Stuck In An Eddy, Part 2

Part 1 of this 3(?) part series is here. Part 3 is likely to come next week.

We've already discussed how Jeff Plush's interview last month was a clear shout-out to the fans not to expect any help this season. This week let's look at what the Rapids did to improve the team between last season and now.

We've added 12 players since the end of the 2009 season, from a variety of sources.

Trades Within MLS:
Quincy Amarikwa
Jeff Larentowicz
Wells Thompson
Anthony Wallace
Marvell Wynne

Out of these 5 players we got two starters (Larentowicz, Wynne), one possible starter (Thompson) and two bench players (Amarikwa, Wallace). In exchange thee Rapids gave up two starters Gibbs, LaBrocca), a backup GK (Burpo), and a handful of draft picks. I think Colorado came out ahead on the deals, though the draft picks make it hard to know the final cost.

Acquired Off Waivers:
Claudio Lopez

Lopez has been a solid pickup that hasn't played nearly enough (129 minutes in 7 games) given his impact on the team when he has played.

Lower U.S. Leagues:
Danny Earls

Earls has been what you would expect, a young player being challenged to move up to the next level. A good pickup but not one that's particularly improved the team yet. 1208 minutes in 15 games.

Youth Teams:
Davy Armstrong

Its great to see the youth teams start to generate first team players, but Armstrong hasn't, and is likely to this year, had an effect on the team yet.

Andre Akpan
Ross LaBeaux

A combined 59 minutes in 4 games from these two. They may be beneficial to the team in the future, but not yet.

Outside Sources:
Ian Joyce
Oscar Murillo

A backup GK who hasn't played and a on-loan defender who has already been sent back to his team. No effect.

You would think a team that's missed the playoffs 3 years running would start looking for new blood. Instead the Rapids signed 12 players, 10 of which were playing which the U.S. soccer structure (MLS, USL, college) last season. The remaining two players amount to an American looking to come home to a backup GK role after not getting playing time at an English Conference side and a on-loan defender that didn't play before getting sent home.

Outside the inter-MLS players the Rapids acquired the new players have played 1269 out of a possible 19, 800 minutes, just about 6%. The "improvements" in the squad the Rapids made have essentially been the other MLS team's cast-offs that the Rapids have managed to trade for. These players are largely available because their former teams have gone out and upgraded their positions, making them surplus. They may have improved the Rapids but at best that's allowed Colorado to keep pace in the improvements that other squads are making. for a team that's missed the playoffs they need to improve more than the other teams, not equally to them.

94% of the Rapids playing time is being covered by players that were playing for the Rapids last year or who were considered replaceable by their 2009 MLS teams. That's a recipe for going nowhere fast in this league.

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