Monday, July 10, 2017

The Window Is Open

As of this morning the summer transfer window for MLS has opened.  It will stay open for just over 4 weeks (through Aug. 9th).  This is the last opportunity this season for the Rapids to add international players or make trades with in the league and the team desperately needs to add talent.

Let's break the team down by position and see where they need to add talent and, possibly, where they can afford to give up talent (or  lack of talent).  This doesn't mean that talent couldn't be added almost everywhere but some areas need to be the focus right now and others don't.

Goalkeeper: Clearly the team is set here.  The only reason to make a move is if a great offer for MacMath comes in.  At that point the Rapids should take the offer and sign a backup GK that's better than Berner.  Otherwise no change.

Center Back: Between Sjoberg, Burling, Ford, and even Watts the Rapids have enough cover here for 2017.  There's some talk that Sjoberg might be a trade candidate.  That makes sense if the Rapids think they are selling high (aka, he doesn't have much more room for improvement) but no sense if he still has room to grow.  I expect this to be Burling's last season so the team will need of fill a hole in the offseason but for now focus can be placed elsewhere.

Outside Back: Like here.  Between Castillo, Hariston, Miller, and Serna there's enough talent to handle one starting position and depth for both positions.  There are not two starters in that group though.  da Fonte and Williams aren't ready for this level and Williams will probably never be, so moving him somehow and freeing up his international spot would be a benefit.  The Rapids need to go shopping in this window and find a starter-quality outside back.

Defensive/Center Mid: Right now it looks like the Rapids have 3 starters at this position with Azira, Boateng, and Saied.  Between injuries and callups (Azira) they need 3 starters so there's not reason to move any of them.  With the overlap from other players (Powers, Watts, Hamilton) there's enough coverage to get us through the year.

Wingers: Lots of options here.  Badji, Gashi, Gatt, Hairston, Perez, and Serna could all play here.  I heard a unconfirmed rumor today that the Rapids offered a contract to an over-30 English winger who turned them down to go to a League One side.  I really hope that's inaccurate because that's not the type of player we need right now.

Attack/Center Mid: Powers? Doyle? Hamilton?  A #10 type player is priority 1a for this window.  The Front Office should already have a player lined up to dot the i's and cross the t's this week.  Without a player that can create chances being added this window (and honestly, really this week) this season really is over.  Powers can, and should, be moved if the opportunity presents itself.

Striker: Doyle is a good enough striker for MLS if the rest of the team can get him service and there's somebody else dangerous on the field.  Playing the 4-5-1 killed Doyle's value because the defense just marked him out of the game and the Rapids had no answer.  We've seen the change to the 4-4-2 along with the increased production out of Badji give Doyle a chance and he's stepped up.  What he needs is a strike partner that can score in MLS.  This is priority 1b this window.  Finding a MLS striker might be easier in the form of a trade than a signing but one needs to be found.  Badji is fine as a backup but he's not good enough to be starting, neither is Calvert.  Gordon is a late game super-sub only.

Juan Ramirez:  A special category for our wayward DP.  His loan to Talleres expired on June 20th.  He only appeared 11 times for them so it wasn't a particularly successful loan.  He's under contract with the Rapids through the end of this season, so the Rapids have a few options.  First, bring him back.  I don't see that happening as obviously him being in Colorado didn't work out.  Second, find him another loan for 6 months and let him go on a free when his contract expires.  This is what I expect to happen and just write off the signing as a bad move.  Third, sell/trade him.  I can't imagine anyone wants to buy him.  Fourth, cut him.  Under MLS rules this would be essentially no different than loaning him out so it might be a backup plan.

So the Rapids need 3 big signings.  A #10, a striker, and a bit less importantly, an outside back.  They have some pieces to work with and some cap room after the Burch/Cronin/Gatt/Saied move at the beginning of the season.  Whatever they do they need to do now as in tomorrow or at least by the end of the week.  Anyone they sign will need time to integrate into the team and get used to the altitude.  If they're being signed from a team that just ended their season they've also been off for up to two months and we'll need to get back in shape.  We have almost two weeks until our next game which is a perfect time for a new player to get used to being here.  If we wait until the end of the window we'll have let 3 more games go by, plus whatever it takes for the player to get game ready.  By that point he season will be over.

1 comment:

Mark Weatherley said...

Haven't we heard that they are planning on bringing in three players during this window, two attacking players and one defender. That certainly matches with the analysis here.

It would seem that it would be prudent for the Rapids to move three players (at least) to clear cap/salary space and free up an international spot. Unload Williams, Powers and Ramirez. Powers is over paid given his contributions to the team. Ramirez doesn't seem to fit with the team (although it's been a while) and Williams won't be hard to replace.

With Hinchey gone I am assuming all final decisions are in Smith's hands? Let's hope the lack of a replacement for TH doesn't hinder their ability to acquire more talent.