Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Gomez is just one of the changes in Colorado
by Ridge Mahoney, February 11th, 2008 6:45AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

The Colorado Rapids' new acquisition arrived just in time for the second phase of preseason training, yet he's not the only face of recent vintage.

Two weeks of crunching through snow-encrusted sessions ended Saturday, a day after midfielder Christian Gomez posed for the obligatory pictures holding his new club colors. When the team resumes training in Florida today, there will be other newcomers both on and off the field.

Former Rapids defender Nat Borchers has been released by Norwegian club Odd Grenland and his former club would have first crack at retaining him. Coach Fernando Clavijoplans on using Jose Burciaga Jr., acquired via trade from Kansas City, at left back. Former Clemson defender Chase Hilgenbrinck, who played in Chile after being passed over in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft, is also on board.

"Chase will use his speed and experience to help us continue to bolster our defense that gave up the third fewest goals in the league this past season," said Clavijo.

Former U.S. keeper Jurgen Sommer is the Rapids director of soccer and Gary Smith has been added as an assistant coach. In addition to working with Clavijo and first assistant coach John Murphy, Smith is responsible for instituting the Arsenal Center of Excellence, a joint venture by the English Premier League club and the Rapids. He coached Watford's reserve team and was a staff member on several English teams.

After finishing their stint in Florida with a match against Rocky Mountain Cup rivals Real Salt Lake Feb. 22, the Rapids will train 10 days in London at the Arsenal facilities. They'll also visit Mississippi in late March to play the Fire.

Regardless of other changes, Clavijo is staking a lot on Gomez. Colorado gave up its first-round 2009 SuperDraft pick and the club's Designated Player slot for either two or three years, depending on the source of the information. Officially, "future considerations" are now owned by D.C. United. Supposedly, Toronto offered D.C. its DP slot, and Colorado either had to match it or lose the trade.

In effect, Gomez is the club's designated player and is costing it accordingly; his salary plus allocation money comes mighty close to the same $400,000 cap hit such a player would inflict. And while Clavijo has always praised the influence of Latin players in MLS, he hasn't had much success with a few of those he's brought recently to Colorado.

Diego Serna and Jose Cancela made the final stops of their league careers in Colorado, and last year's signing, Mexican striker Daniel Osorno, arrived out of shape, played just 55 minutes, and then "retired," though he's back playing in Mexico with Dorados.

If Gomez is anything close to what he showed in D.C., the Rapids' anemic attack - 29 goals in 30 games last year, only expansion Toronto scored fewer - has to improve, perhaps significantly. Streaky scorers abound on the Rapids roster - Jovan Kirovski, Herculez Gomez, Nicolas Hernandez - so a steady supply of quality service could brighten one of the club's dark spots.

Clavijo expects the new Gomez to play up front as a second forward, which probably means one or two members of a forward brigade that also includes Conor Casey can't be retained. He's lined up a Brazilian defensive midfielder - name not yet known - to play alongside Pablo Mastroeni in central midfield, and the flanks are more or less secure with Terry Cooke on the right andColin Clark on the left. Midfielder Ciaran O'Brien was taken with the No. 5 overall draft pick and as a Generation Adidas player will have plenty of time to settle in.

Clavijo, though, won't have that luxury. There are some high points during Clavijo's tenure - two straight playoff eliminations of Dallas (2005 and 2006), the unearthing of Senegalese goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul, an excellent first season for Hernandez - yet his contract expires this year.

Gomez's contract is guaranteed through 2009; his coach will have to earn such security.

MLS Preseason Previews
Jan. 28 -- Real Salt Lake
Jan. 29 -- D.C. United
Jan. 30 -- New England
Jan. 31 -- Columbus
Feb. 1 -- FC Dallas
Feb. 5 -- Chicago
Feb. 6 -- Kansas City
Feb. 7 -- Chivas USA
Feb. 8 -- New York




No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
MLS Injury Report: Timbers' Borchers out for season    
Portland Timbers defender Nat Borchers will miss the rest of the 2016 season with a ruptured ...
TV Report: MLS All-Star Game will air in Cuba    
The MLS All-Star Game will be broadcast for the first time in Cuba. MLS reached an ...
Crowd Count: MLS chases 2015 attendance record    
At the All-Star break, MLS clubs are averaging 21,429 fans a game, almost unchanged (down 0.6 ...
What They're Saying: Chinese soccer fan Netizen Liu Ningning    
"I don't mind spending money on the ticket, I don't have to watch the game, but ...
What They're Saying: Bill Edwards    
"As [head coach] Stuart [Campbell] said after the match, the officiating was disgusting. It was the ...
USL Rewind: Big crowd sees Cincy win River Cities Cup    
Drained by a busy schedule of league matches and a friendly against Crystal Palace, FC Cincinnati ...
NWSL Rewind: Goals rain down for Seattle    
The Seattle Reign, the two-time NWSL regular-season champion, scored a season-high five goals as it pounded ...
Video Pick: Giovinco aces two free kicks    
Sebastian Giovinco's hat trick in Toronto FC's 4-1 win over D.C United included two free-kick golazos, ...
NASL Rewind: Omar Bravo scores on debut    
Former Mexican World Cup striker Omar Bravo scored in his debut for the Carolina RailHawks in ...
MLS Talking Points: 'Hatred' seeps into New York derby    
The intensity of the Hudson River Derby took on a new level, rising with the midday ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives