Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rapids All-Time Team: Speed Forward

The starting speed forward for the Rapids All-Time Team is Omar Cummings.

How Acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round (31st overall pick) in the 2007 Superdraft.

Years In Colorado: 2007 through present

This was the trickiest pick of the team. I went back and forth between a 4-4-2 and a 3-4-3, but eventually Cummings won out. (Don't let the titles of the forward positions fool you, I wasn't looking specifically for a Speed Forward but I needed some way to designate each of the forward positions, so the position titles are based on the players not the other way around.) Omar has been one half of the best strike duo in MLS the last 2+ seasons as his work with Casey has led to a "thunder and lightning" approach for the Rapids offense which the fans have nicknamed the C+C Goal Factory. In his 4+ seasons Cummings is already the 4th leading scorer in team history and he'll probably pass Spencer for 3rd by the end of this year. This despite not being a regular starter until his 3rd season.

Cummings is probably the best player actually developed by the Rapids in their history. Colorado has had good players sign with the team, like Conor Casey, and had players start in Colorado and then leave to become even greater, like Shawn Bartlett. Cummings is really the first player to develop as a Rapid and he looks poised to move on to a top-level club. His trial with Aston Villa this offseason went well enough that Villa and Colorado agreed on a loan deal for him, with rumors of a possible purchase if it went well, but Jamaica's place just outside the top 70 of the FIFA rankings meant that Cummings would have to appeal to get a work permit, a long process that would have used up most of his loan time. The only other player to develop in Colorado and move immediately to anything resembling a top club was Marcus Hahnemann's move to Fulham, but they were a Championship side at that point.

I expect this to be one of the more debated picks in my All-Time Team, and I can 't really disagree. There are a number of names that could have taken the final slot, both at forward or in midfield/defense in a different formation. The potential Cummings has shown and his combination with Casey up front give him the edge in my opinion.

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