Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Season Review - Forwards

Finally getting to the final part of the season review, the forwards.

Andre Akpan - Akpan only had one appearance this year but got some good experience while on loan to Tampa in the USSF Division II. He'll probably feature in the reserve division next year, and push Amarikwa for the forward spot on the bench until Kandji returns.

Quincy Amarikwa - Quincy was acquired early in the season from San Jose, and became the go-to option off the bench up front until Kandji was acquired. Unfortunately he appeared to be speed with no ball control. While he was great to run at defenses it was quickly obvious that he needed more time to become any type of threat, something borne out by his stats (1 goal and no assists in 13 appearances). Amarikwa will partner with Akpan in the reserve league, but probably not be a real threat for the first team unless his play increases greatly. I would expect the Rapids to either bring in another striker or draft one to challenge Akpan and Amarikwa next season.

Conor Casey - One half of Colorado's C+C Goal Factory, Casey had another great season, finishing with 14 total goals and 6 assists, the best combined total on the team. Despite the disappointment of not making the squad for South Africa Casey kept his head up and made 29 appearances, missing one game due to yellow card accumulation. He capped the season off with a goal and set up Kandji's attack for the own goal in MLS Cup, earning MLS Cup MVP honors.

We've seen that when Casey stays healthy all he does is score goals. At 29 he's probably at the peak of his career, but I don't expect a huge drop-off next season, especially is he's paired with Cummings again. Conor is never going to be the creative force in the team, he's your typical back-to-gal striker who can dish the ball to an onrushing Cummings or turn and shoot.

Omar Cummings - Omar was the team MVP IMO this year. 14 goals and 5 assists were second to Casey, but Cummings stepped up in a big way in the final third of the season when the team needed a spark to make their playoff run. He suffered through being played out of position in Smith's 4-5-1 experiment without complaint, but it was the move back to the 4-4-2 that sparked his resurgence. He had assists on both goals in the Columbus playoff series to push the Rapids through to the conference finals, and it was his run to the near post that allowed Koz's goal to sneak through for the winning goal in the Eastern Conference Final.

Cummings is the biggest question mark on the team going into next year. Currently training with Aston Villa, there's a real chance that he will be sold in the winter transfer window. The Rapids already turned down a mid-season offer for him from Necaxa, and reportedly they had an offer recently from another Mexican club. If Cummings returns I expect another successful season from the C+C Goal Factory, and I hope Smith has figured out that he has to play both of them up front.

Macoumba Kandji - Acquired before the trading deadline for the inconsistent and ineffectual Mehdi Ballouchy, Kandji didn't show much in his limited playing time, but was an immediate improvement over Akpan and Amarikwa. In 7 regular season appearances he had 3 assists and 0 goals. Of course he'll always be remembered for his attack in overtime of MLS Cup where he crossed the ball that George John knocked in his own goal for the winning score int he Rapids championship. In the collision with Ugo Ihemelu that happened as he was making the cross Kandji blew out his ACL.

Due to the blown ACL anything we get out of Kandji in 2011 should be seen as a bonus. He won't even be close to 100% until the very end of the season.

Ross Schunk - Ross was the victim of ripping his ACL near the end of training camp this year. After losing a season of development and the additions of Akpan, Amarikwa, and Kandji there just wasn't room for him.

1 comment:

WTAMUCrew said...

Nice blog. My first time here. Keep up the good work.