Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rapids All-Time Team: Attacking Midfielder

The starting attacking midfielder for the Rapids All-Time Team is Adrian Paz.

How Acquired: Acquired from the Columbus Crew along with their 3rd round Supplemental Draft Pick in the 1997 draft for the Rapids 1st round pick in that draft.

Years In Colorado: 1997 through 1998

How Departed: Left as a free agent and signed by Tianjin Teda in China.

I had to ask some friends (greenie and joeyclams) for input on the early years of the Rapids, as I didn't start following them until 1998 and didn't get MLS Shootout/Direct Kick so I could see the majority of their games until 2000. So my knowledge of the first coule years of the Rapids is kind of fuzzy. The one bit of advice I got from both of them is that Adrian Paz deserved the attacking midfielder spot. From what little I saw of the '98 season, it was hard to disagree.

In an era when most MLS players, especially American players, primary skill was their fitness and work rate Paz brought a level of technique and creativity the team needed in the attack. He was working with a group of forwards that, other than Paul Bravo, will not be quickly remembered. Guys like Waldir, Wolde Harris, and Marquis White. Despite that Paz is still 4th all time in assists, and on a per game basis is second only to Anders Limpar. Paz played in all but 7 games while he was in Colorado and he only missed about 300 minutes in total of the 53 games he did play in.

Paz also holds the distinction of being one of the only two Rapids ever to score in MLS Cup. His goal in the 75th minute of the 1997 MLS Cup cut the DC lead in half and made for a furious finish to the game as Colorado was searching for the tying score. Of course it wasn't to be and the Rapids would have to wait 13 years to get another chance. Still that goal was probably the highpoint in the Rapids first 14 seasons and the man who scored it should be on the All-Time team.


Bonji said...

Not Carlos Valderamma?

Jason Maxwell said...

It was a tough choice, but the fact that El Pibe never moved more than about a 20 foot radius all game, no matter how good he was in that circle, was the deciding factor.

Jester said...

Valderamma would be my first choice also. Of course, Paz would be my first choice at right wing.
Limpar was a very good player, but his overall contribution to the team wasn't enough for me to put him on an all time team.
Just my 2 cents of course.

Jason Maxwell said...

I have a hard time leaving Limpar off the team. As far as wingers go he might be the best one the Rapids ever had, he's diminished only by the length of time he was with the team. Clearly Henderson has to be on the team as well. That forces Paz and El Pibe into the middle. I suppose I could have gone with a 3-5-2 and played two attacking mids, but that leaves a worthy striker off the team.

Jester said...

Ya, it would be hard to pick 2 strikers out of Bravo, Spencer and Casey.
Of course, it must have been hard to leave Chung out as well.