By RIDGE MAHONEY The MetroStars and Rapids are finalizing a trade of picks and players as they fine-tune for the final weeks of the regular season. The Metros will send midfielder/defender Steve
Shak, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2000 Superdraft, to Colorado in exchange for veteran midfielder Ross Paule. Also to be exchanged are draft picks. The Metros will get the Rapids' No. 3 choice
next season and the Rapids take back the No. 2 pick in 2002 that they had traded to the Metros earlier this season in the Christopher Dawes deal. Shak played 23 games for the Metros last season but
had appeared in just nine games (409 minutes) in 2001. Shak had trouble getting playing time with Richie Williams and Pedro Alvarez filling the holding midfield roles and Orlando Perez starting in the
back. Paule leads the Rapids in assists with 10 yet had started only half of his 20 games this season. His career totals are 111 games, 18 goals and 29 assists and he was an All-Star in 1998 and
1999. He had been unable to secure a regular attacking spot in a squad crowded by the acquisitions of John Spencer, Imad Baba, Carlos Valderrama and Chris Carrieri. Colorado will also gain some
salary-cap space on the deal, which it will need next year to accommodate the full-season salaries of Valderrama and keeper Scott Garlick. The trade will be officially announced today or tomorrow.