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
PREVIEW: Rapids still have lots to sort out
by Paul Kennedy, March 3rd, 2014 2:22PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  colorado rapids, mls

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS 2014: Western Conference] Following a month of preseason play, it isn't hard to figure out who stands where on the field at most MLS clubs.

An exception is Colorado, which had yet to confirm Pablo Mastroeni, who ran preseason with the title of special assistant to the technical director, as the successor to departed head coach Oscar Pareja, let alone sort out any number of personnel issues.

2013 Colorado Rapids
Record: 14-11-9
Finish: 5th in Western Conf.
Playoffs: lost in play-in.

The Rapids were last season's surprise in the Western Conference, making the playoffs with one of the youngest teams in MLS, but halfway through the preseason-ending Desert Diamond Cup, Mastroeni admitted he didn't have a clue who would start. Part of that's because two of the young stars dubbed the "Rapkids" were slowly coming back from injuries, but also because the Rapids were two deep at just about every position.

Irish-born Shane O'Neill, who earned his first call-up to the U.S. national team at the age of 20 in January, was nursing a hamstring injury and played just 40 minutes in Tucson as Mastroeni shifted Marvell Wynne from right back into the middle. Dillon Powers, the 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year, had his first season cut short because of a concussion and also battled tendinitis in his knee, and he played just 75 minutes over the last two weeks.

Western Conference Preview:
Chivas USA

WHY BE OPTIMISTIC? For all the question marks in the Colorado lineup, it should be remembered Mastroeni, assuming he is named head coach, will have an extra week to sort things out and get everyone healthy as the Rapids don't start until March 15.

Up top, Deshorn Brown emerged as one of the most dangerous young strikers in MLS with 10 goals in his rookie season. Goalie Clint Irwin, left back Chris Klute, O'Neill and Powers were also playing their first full pro seasons in 2013 and will only get better.

Dillon Serna
, O'Neill's teammate on the U.S. U-20s, was pushing for a starting job. Mastroeni was working hard to empower veterans like Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Edson Buddle and Vicente Sanchez and Buddle with leadership roles.

WHY BE PESSIMISTIC? Powers' health issues are concerning. The Rapids have no one who can replace his all-around game in midfield. Spaniard Jose Mari, who was brought in during preseason with the idea that he'll replace Honduran hardman Hendry Thomas, who was dealt to FC Dallas, is untested in MLS.

The roles of a lot of players need to sorted out: Marvin Chavez, Kamani Hill, young Cameroonian Charles Eloundou, Sanchez and Buddle. Panamanian Gabriel Torres, Colorado's first Designated Player signing, could be one of the best strikers in MLS, but he saw spot duty in Tucson as Mastroeni was trying to downplay the pressure on him to carry the team in his first full season in MLS.

PROJECTED FINISH: 5th-8th place. Who needs a settled coaching situation? New York entered preseason without a head coach in place, and all it did after hiring Mike Petke was win its first Supporters' Shield. Could the Rapids do the same? Not impossible, but it will require some heavy lifting to move ahead of the big four in the Western Conference -- Real Salt Lake, Portland, the LA Galaxy and Seattle.



PROJECTED LINEUP: 4-4-2
Goalkeeper:
NO. PLAYER (AGE)/COUNTRY
1-Clint Irwin (24)/USA (2nd season)

Defenders:
NO. PLAYER (AGE)/COUNTRY
27-Shane O'Neill (20)/USA (3rd season)
22-Marvell Wynne (27)/USA (5th season)
3-Drew Moor (30)/USA (6th season)
15-Chris Klute (23)/USA (3rd season)

Midfielders:
NO. PLAYER (AGE)/COUNTRY
6-*Jose Mari (26)/Spain (Real Zaragoza)
2-**Nick LaBrocca (29)/USA (2nd season)
7-Vicente Sanchez (34)/Uruguay (2nd season)
8-Dillon Powers (23)/USA (2nd season)
17-Dillon Serna (19)/USA (2nd season)

Forwards:
NO. PLAYER (AGE)/COUNTRY
26-Deshorn Brown
(23)/Jamaica (2nd season)

First off the bench:
NO. PLAYER (AGE)/COUNTRY
9-Edson Buddle (32)/USA (2nd season)
99-Marvin Chavez (30)/Honduras (San Jose Earthquakes)
24-Nathan Sturgis (26)/USA (2nd season)
10-Gabriel Torres (25)/Panama (2nd season)
Colorado Rapids: complete roster.

Note:
returning players in bold.
*currently unsigned.
**second stint with club.

MARCH SCHEDULE:
March 15: at New York, 4 pm ET
March 22:
Portland, 6 pm ET
March 29: Sporting KC, 6 pm ET
Colorado Rapids: complete schedule.


No comments yet.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Diego Lopez returns to Rapids as director of soccer    
Claudio Lopez, who played for Argentina in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, has returned to ...
What They're Saying: Tim Howard    
"I think the MLS have probably made their own problem. New York is owned by Manchester ...
Video Pick: A keeper gaffe for the ages     
The record will show that Lierse defender Arjan Swinkels scored an own goal in Saturday's 6-0 ...
U.S. Abroad: Weekend Hot (and Cold) List    
Brad Guzan made eight saves as 10-man Aston Villa earned a 1-1 tie with Manchester United. ...
Three takeaways from Liverpool-Arsenal    
Energetic attacking and sloppy defending in their 2-2 tie Sunday illustrated why Arsenal and Liverpool are ...
Three takeaways from Club World Cup    
Real Madrid's winning streak is now 22 games following its 2-0 win over San Lorenzo of ...
U.S. U-18s split two-game series with Germany    
The U.S. under-18 men's national team dropped a 3-2 decision to Germany's U-18s to finish with ...
MLS Trade Central: Friday's deals    
After two disastrous years in England, Brek Shea is back in MLS, signing with expansion club ...
MLS lines up exciting tripleheader for first Sunday    
MLS will open its 2015 season on March 6 when the defending champion LA Galaxy hosts ...
Video Pick: Alex Meier on Fire     
The leading scorer in the Europe's highest scoring league is a player you may not have ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives