Friday, January 28, 2011

Rapids Re-Sign Akpan And Smith

The Rapids just announced that Andre Akpan, last year's first round pick, and Jamie Smith have signed new contracts. Akpan was probably offered a new contract so quickly due to the new rules on roster spots (which I'll go into in more detail sometime over the weekend) with minimum and maximum salary limits. Smith's new contract is a bit of a surprise. I'm guessing he got more years for less money or something.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Preseason starts!

The team reported to Commerce City yesterday for the official start of pre-season. The first few days are physicals and fitness tests, including concussion tests. They'll hit the fields for the first time on Thursday.

The Rapids open camp with a 23 man roster and 4 draft picks. Rosters this year are 30 players, but there are restrictions on the salaries and availability of spots 21-30. I'll get into that in more detail in a future post. To help full the last 3 spots and compete with the draftees Colorado held open tryouts over the weekend. A few players caught the coaches eye, but the only player currently in camp is Metro State's Steven Emory. He's a midfielder who previously played in the Rapids Academy in 2007.

The other bit of Rapids news is that 3 Colorado players got to put on the National team jersey for the game against Chile on Saturday. I didn't get a chance to watch the game, but going from reports it seems that Jeff Larentowicz was one of the bright spots for the Nats, playing a full 90. Marvell Wynne was probably the player most at fault on the Chilean goal, but it seems that the defending was a disaster across the board on the play. Anthony Wallace got 18 minutes at the end of the game, and impressed in what little time he had. Matt Pickens, the 4th Rapids player in camp, did not get picked for the game day squad. This is the 4th time he's been to a Nats camp and the 4th time he's failed to make the game-day squad. The last American #1 keeper the Rapids had, Joe Cannon, faced similar difficulties.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Omar Cumming(s) home

Yeah, I know, way too obvious of a headline. If you haven't heard, Omar Cummings' training/trial in England has completed and he's returning to Colorado next week for the start of training camp. Aston Villa worked out a loan deal with him and the Rapids, but it fell apart when Cummings was unable to obtain a work permit for the UK. The United Kingdom has strict immigration laws and in order for a player to get a work permit their country needs to be in the top 70 of the FIFA rankings. Jamaica is currently 72nd. There is an appeal process and Omar probably would have won the appeal, but its a lengthy process (a month or so) and with his loan only going until the beginning of the MLS season two months from today (yay!) Aston Villa decided it wasn't worth the effort.

This probably puts an end to any threat of Cummings getting transferred before the beginning of the season as well, which is good for Colorado. We'll have our full starting XI from our MLS Cup victory back to start the season, barring injury. I'm sure Cummings is on the radar of a couple of teams now, and a good start to the season and a decent showing for Jamaica in this summer's Gold Cup could see him leaving mid-season, or next off-season.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rapids Add Two In Supplemental Draft

The Rapids had the 36th and 54th (and final) picks in today's Supplemental Draft, having traded the 18th pick to Dallas for Anthony Wallace.

With the 36th pick they took Philip Bannister

A forward out of Loylola University. Forward is an obvious need for us with only 4 healthy forwards currently on the roster. Unfortunately he's coming off of season-ending knee surgery, so hopefully he can get back to fitness to show something in camp.

With the final pick the Mr. Irrelevant of 2011 was Javed Mohammed

A defender from the University of South Florida. More depth on the back-line is good, especially with the schedule of games we'll have.

We've now cut or traded 5 players this off-season (Baudet, Earls, Schunk, O'Brien, and Lopez) while adding 7 (Nyassi, Nane, Marshall, Ababio, Givens, Bannister, and Mohammed). That gives us 27 players for 30 roster spots. I'm sure we'll see numerous players trying for a spot when camp opens up next week (such as Michael Holody, who was expected to return to the team this year) and rumors have linked the Rapids to a couple of overseas players. With the expanded rosters this year there's a good chance all 4 of our draft picks can make the team.

Monday, January 17, 2011

First Look At New Uniforms

Thanks to Pid Army member Teddy Montoya for the images

This is the first images we've had of the new Rapids jerseys for 2011. The primary/home jersey is only slightly change with the light blue elements of the 2010 kit changed to white and a new piping around the shoulders and creating a 'V' on the back. The alternate/road kit is completely different. Colorado dumped light blue as the base color (probably because of Sporting KC going to light blue and Vancouver also using light blue next year) instead returning to a standard white kit. The burgundy shoulders and sleeves are a nice touch, but I'm not thrilled with the light blue trim forming the 'V' in the back. Its hard to tell much from these cell phone pictures though, when we get a better look my opinion might change. Still they're much better than some of the new kits we've seen, like Seattle's.

These pictures are missing the most important part of next year's jerseys, the scudetto.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2011 SuperDraft

I'll do what I can to keep the this entry updated with any Rapids-related draft news, as my job allows. At the moment I'm waiting for the developers to fix the build so I can actually log into the product so I have some time. ;) The Rapids pick 18th and 36th, barring trades.

With the #18 pick the Rapids selected Eddie Ababio

He's a defender out of North Carolina that plays right back and center back.

Defender was an obvious choice for the Rapids, but I'm a little surprised they didn't go with the last remaining Generation Adidas player, Michael Tetteh, who's a defender. He wouldn't have counted towards the cap. Seattle took him 2 picks later. Ababio seems like a stretch based on the reports and the mock drafts out there. John Rooney (Wayne's brother) was also still available, and that would have generated some PR. Still the coaches have actually seen these guys play and I'm just going off some stuff I've read, so I'll trust they've made the right choice.

With their second (and final) pick the Rapids take Colin Givens.

Givens is a defender out of Michigan State. Colorado was obviously focusing on defensive depth in this draft.

Barring a trade in the 3rd round the Rapids (and me) are done for the day. They'll have a 2nd and 3rd round pick in next week's Supplemental Draft.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rapids News & Notes

OK, after two weeks off for the holidays and a hard drive melt down we're back. Luckily its been pretty quiet lately so there's not that much to catch up on.
I like the short term nature of the contract, but the real key to this will be the salary number (which we'll see when the union releases the salaries in March). If its less than 6 figures its a good move to boost our reserves on the back line. If its more than 6 figures we've probably overpaid.
This isn't far from what I expected, and I'm guessing the Rapids, if they have floated this number, is floating a number higher than their actual minimum. my thought was that $2 million or more would be enough for sure, and they might take around $1.5 million depending on what other plans they had. Anything less than $1 million is a non-starter though. My bet is that Villa won't offer much more than $1.5 million if they even try to buy him, so thee Rapids may have a big decision to make.
As a Blackburn fan I've of two minds on this one. The skill he's shown would be welcome at Commerce City, but watching him play for Rovers I never got the impression that he put it together on a consistent basis. I would assume he's being considered only as a replacement for Cummings. If Omar comes back I don't see how the Rapids can justify spending big money to bring in a player like him when Casey and Cummings are the clear starters.

Later this week is the Superdraft where the Rapids have the 18th and 36th picks (having traded away their 3rd round pick already). A week later will be the Supplemental Draft, now 3 rounds, and the 4th round pick the Rapids traded will actually be the first round pick in that draft, to they'll have the #36 and #54 picks. #54 would be the last pick, MLS' equivalent to the NFL's Mr. Irrelevant but without all the ceremony. There's usually plenty of wheeling and dealing around the drafts, so we'll see what happens.