Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Gomez is just one of the changes in Colorado
by Ridge Mahoney, February 11th, 2008 6:45AM

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 Clavijo plans 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 and Colin 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
What They're Saying: Felix Magath    
"I merely suggested it could be worth trying the old wives' tale of applying quark cheese ...
Soccer America Power Rankings    
[MLS Week 28] There's a new team atop the Power Rankings as the streaking LA Galaxy ...
NYCFC and Orlando City will draw for player slots    
[MLS EXPANSION] Representatives from New York City FC and Orlando City, the two 2015 MLS expansion ...
What They're Saying: Nasser Al Khater    
"The only question now is when, not if. Summer or winter, we will be ready." -- ...
D.C. United is on verge of clinching    
[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Preview] MLS's four U.S. entrants are all in action in the Concacaf Champions ...
Olsen is still MLS's youngest head coach    
[MAKING A LIST] Almost four years after being named D.C. United head coach, Ben Olsen is ...
D.C. United rewards Olsen with multi-year extension    
[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Head coach Ben Olsen, who survived D.C. United's horrific 2013 campaign, the worst in ...
Valeri volleys a golazo on the run     
[VIDEO PICK: MLS Goals of the Week] Portland's Diego Valeri looks set to garner his third ...
Soccer America Men's Top 25 Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Sunday] No. 6 Washington rebounded from allowing an early goal to beat USF, 2-1, in ...
Howard gaffes cost Everton dearly at home    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] Everton's defensive troubles in the English Premier League continued as it dropped a 3-2 ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives