Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rapids Beat Hawaii Pacific In Scrimmage

Colorado got its first game time in the islands today as the reserves scrimmaged against Hawaii Pacific and won 2-1.  Here's the starting XI:

Janniere - Akpan - Serna
Nane - Yamada - Emory
Brislen-Hall - Palguta - Ababio - LaBauex

3 subs in the game were Helmick at half for Joyce, Armstrong in for Yamada with 15 minutes to play, and Amarikwa in for Brislin-Hall shortly after that right after Akpan scored.  Emory served up a nice ball to Armstrong for the second goal before Hawaii Pacific scored right at the end of the game.

This kind of highlights what I see as the two roster battles in camp right now.  The Rapids currently have 32 players in camp for a roster of 30 and one open international spot.  There are 3 unsigned players, GK Joel Helmick and left backs George Brislen-Hall and Luis Zapata.

I think there are two battles right now, one at goalkeeper and one at left back.  Colorado has 3 signed goalkeepers, Matt Pickens, Steward Ceus, and Ian Joyce.  Based on last season its pretty obvious that Pickens is the #1 and Ceus is the #2.  Joyce made 70K last year to be the 3rd string keeper and I think Helmick, who almost certainly would make the league minimum 34K, is pushing him for that role.  Based on the preseason playing time Helmick and Joyce seem to be the ones in a battle because I don't see the Rapids having 4 keepers on the roster.

That leaves one open spot and once international spot with two international left backs on trial.  With Freeman and Wallace both battling injuries the team does not have a healthy natural left back so they're obviously looking to fill that hole.  Until Brislen-Hall got here last week I thought Zapata was the most likely trialist to be signed but Brislen-Hall got all the playing time today.  We'll have to see who gets time in the tournament at the end of the week.

The silver lining in our injuries is that players who go on IR for a minimum of 6 weeks don't take up a roster spot (but do take up cap room).  Since Wallace and Smith are almost certain to start the year on IR we could theoretically sign Helmick, Brislen-Hall, and Zapata to short contracts to the staff can continue evaluating them into the season.  There's no hurry to make a decision yet.

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