Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Roster Review As We End 2014

Barring an unexpected player announcement tomorrow here's a quick review of our currently signed players as the year ends.  The interesting thing is that the rumors out of the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations between the Players Union and the league suggest roster sizes may be reduced as development is shifted to the USL with the new agreement between the leagues.  In the Rapids case that would mean their partnership with Charlotte.  The numbers could drop from 30 down to 24 or 25.

John Berner
Clint Irwin

No surprises here.  The Rapids will probably add a young third keeper if the roster sizes stay high, or put a third keeper in Charlotte.

Marc Burch
Bobby Burling
Michael Harrington
Chris Klute
Drew Moor
John Neeskens
Shane O'Neill

I think we can assume Zat Knight will also be signed given is protection in the expansion draft.  Its a waste but it is what it is.  Its hard to see us adding much here given the roster realities but we might see another central defender added to cover for Moor's rehab and the possibility of losing O'Neill to Europe (or maybe moving him to d-mid?).

Marlon Hairston
Dillon Powers
Dillon Serna
Jared Watts

Uh huh.  That's barely enough to put a starting XI on the field.  All signs point to Nick LaBrocca being re-signed as he pulled his name out of the re-entry draft but that's not much help.  We need at minimum a MLS ready d-mid, another wide player (though some of our forwards could fill in to that spot), and a backup for Powers in case of injury.  We probably need at least another 1-2 players on top of that just for depth, though roster limits and flexibility of players may drive that.

Deshorn Brown
Caleb Calvert
Charles Eloundou
Vicente Sanchez
Gabriel Torres

Not a bad stable of forwards but the $64,000 question is what's going to happen to Torres?  If he's in camp, committed, and ready to play he jumps to the top of the starting XI.  If we get the Torres of much of 2014 we need another striker to play off of Brown.  Sanchez is Sanchez, when healthy he plays but we can't count on him for more than about 21-23 games a season I think.  I like Eloundou's flashes so far but he's still a work in progress as is Calvert.  With "good" Torres we probably need a solid backup.  With "bad" Torres we need to move him out, free up the salary, and sign a quality striker.

Right now the Rapids have 18 players under contract by all reports with two more (Knight, LaBrocca) likely to sign.  Under the 2014 roster rules that would give us 10 spots to fill but if the rosters reduce to 24 that gives us 4 spots to work with (though in that scenario we could see somebody like Watts, Berner, Calvert, or Eloundou sent to Charlotte to free up a spot).  In that case there's not much room for error in our off-season moves.

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