Friday, January 13, 2017

Rapids Draft Two, Possibly Add A Free Agent?

Today was one of the more uneventful drafts in recent MLS history.  There were two big moves early with NYCFC and Portland moving up to 3 and 4 respectfully but after that the action settled down and for the most part teams stayed put in the draft or made minor moves.  The Rapids stuck with their two picks and #15 and #24, picking up DU midfielder Sam Hamilton and Syracuse left back Liam Callahan.  Both picks were seen as somewhat of a stretch as neither were high on most draft boards.

In Hamilton's case the general feeling is that he's a good long-term prospect but not somebody who's expected to contribute right away.  I expect that he'll spend a good chunk of 2017 in Charlotte.  He will probably team up well with recent homegrown signing Kortne Ford as they were teammates at DU and apparently best friends.  The ope is that with Hamilton having been in the Rapids backyard his whole life (he's from Evergreen and played for Colorado Rush before college) that they've seen something the rest of the league hasn't and we got a diamond in the rough.  I'm pretty confident that if he hasn't signed a contract already pre-draft he'll make the team at least for a season or two.

For Callahan finding somebody at the tricky left back position is always a positive.  Its generally the toughest position to fill for MLS teams so anyone who's comfortable there is worth taking a look at.  There are concerns about his ability to keep up physically in MLS with some questioning if he has the speed to play on the wing at this level.  He was a bit of a surprise pick I think so there's not much int he way of evaluation on him out there.  He'll be one to watch in preseason to see if he can make the team.

The big league news of the day is a change in the policy of announcing trade details.  Up until this point when General Allocation Money (GAM) or Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) was traded the amount was always kept secret.  Starting today (with NYCFC's trade to move up to #3 in the draft) the amount of GAM/TAM involved in the trade will be announced.  This will be great for us backseat GM's to evaluate trades going forward.

Late tonight an interesting news item broke.  Multiple sources including the Denver Post are reporting that the Rapids expect to sign forward Alan Gordon to (likely) a one year deal.  Gordon is 35 years old and for the last few years has been a super sub off the bench for LA and San Jose.  In the last 3 seasons he has 80 appearances, 13 goals, and 2 assists but only 25 starts.  He's been in the league since 2004 and with the exception of 8 games with Toronto in 2011 has spent the whole time bouncing between the 3 California teams.

Personally I'm not a big fan of Alan Gordon but I think that's more because he's got some sort of 'luck of the Irish' going where I've seen him somehow be in the right place at the right time to salvage late points for San Jose and LA in games they had no business getting points out of.  While I don't think at his age (and mileage) we should be looking at Gordon to start any significant game this season he would be a better option off the bench than Badji.  He would also fit the same style of play as the Rapids would use with Doyle in the game, which would make for an easy sub for him.  I really doubt his ability to be effective over 90 minutes though so I don't think he's a solution to deal with any absence from Doyle.  He could start USOC and CCL games against lower league competition.

Here's the newest update of the roster including our draftees:

Signed Players:
GK John Berner
GK Tim Howard - Designated Player
GK Zac MacMath
D Marc Burch
D Bobby Burling
D Dennis Castillo - International
D Kortne Ford - Homegrown
D Eric Miller
D Axel Sjoberg - International
D Jared Watts
D Mekeil Williams - International
M Micheal Azira
M Sam Cronin
M Marlon Hairston
M Ricardo Perez - Homegrown
M Dillon Powers
M Juan Ramirez - Designated Player, International, On Loan
M Dillon Serna - Homegrown
F Dominique Badji - International
F Caleb Calvert - Homegrown
F Kevin Doyle - International
F Shkelzen Gashi - Designated Player, International

Unsigned Draftees:
D Liam Callahan
M Sam Hamilton

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