Colorado Rapids fans were awaiting word on who will be the Rapids' first big signing of the 2016 season. Mexican stars Alan Pulido
and Carlos Vela
were often mentioned. So it was
something of a headscratcher when Shkelzen Gashi
wasn't just signed to as a Designated Player but termed the Rapids' "top attacking target" of the offseason. Huh? Gashi arrives from FC Basel in
Switzerland, where he won Super League Golden Boot honors in his last two seasons.
Gashi, 27, scored 19 goals for Grasshopper in 2013-14 and 22 goals for FC Basel in 2014-15. In 2014, he
earned Axpo Player of the Year accolades, awarded to the best player in the Swiss Super League.
“Shkelzen was our top attacking target this offseason,” said Paul Bravo
the Rapids' technical director and vice president of soccer operations. “He has proven to be a prolific goalscorer in his club’s domestic and European success. In addition, he has been
instrumental in his national team’s qualification campaign for Euro 2016."
Gashi has scored three goals in 11 appearances for Albania, including the game-winning goal against
Armenia in Euro 2016 qualifying in March 2015. He played in four of eight qualifiers for Albania, for which Euro 2016 in France will be its first-ever appearance at a major tournament.
Fellow Rapid forward Kevin Doyle
played for Ireland in one Euro 2016 qualifier but is considered a longshot the Irish roster for the finals with Robbie Keane
, Shane Long
currently ahead of him.