The Colorado Rapids played their first actual games of their preseason this past week, winning 2-0 over UNLV on Friday before suffering a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday. Given it is the preseason; the score line is a less important focus than the evaluation of players for coaching staffs around the league.
But fans might be confused trying to familiarize themselves with the new names and numbers on their favorite team’s roster. Mile High Sports previously explained this off-season’s long list of player departures. This week, we take a look at which players have joined the Colorado Rapids this offseason.
Here’s a look at the new Rapids players for 2015:
Michael Harrington – Harrington, a 29-year-old veteran defender known for his versatility, was acquired from the Portland Timber in early December in exchange for allocation money prior to the MLS expansion draft. He can play either fullback position.
Bobby Burling – The 6-foot-5 center back and Colorado native returned home to play for a club he grew up rooting for when the Rapids selected the 30-year-old with the third pick in the MLS dispersal draft back in December following the dissolution of Chivas USA.
Caleb Calvert – Like Burling, Calvert comes to the Rapids via the club formerly known as Chivas USA. The 18-year-old striker has yet to play significant minutes in Major League Soccer, but the former Goats Homegrown Player finds himself in an optimal landing spot given the Rapids’ focus on developing young talent.
Sam Cronin – Cronin was one of two players acquired on draft day by Colorado following the trade of left back Chris Klute for allocation money. The Rapids sent part of that allocation money to San Jose in order to obtain Cronin, who recorded five goals and 12 assists in 140 regular season appearances with the ‘Quakes.
Marcelo Sarvas – Pablo Mastroeni pushed to bring his former L.A. Galaxy teammate to the Rapids on draft day. Sending away allocation money acquired from the Klute trade and the Rapids’ third allocation ranking, Mastroeni got his wish, and Colorado acquired the 33-year-old Brazilian midfielder, who was critical to the Galaxy’s championship run at the end of the 2014 season.
Lucas Pittinari – With Claudio Lopez brought back to the club in his new role as “Director of Soccer”, the Colorado Rapids appeared to open an Argentinian pipeline to the club. The first fruits of this newly opened window to South America bore fruit when the Rapids were able to acquire Argentine Lucas Pittinari. The 23-year-old defensive midfielder joined the Rapids this preseason on a reported season-long loan. According to reports out of Argentina, the Rapids have a $1.5m option to buy Pittinari at the end of the season.
Juan Ramirez – Early reports linked the Rapids with Ramirez, who is expected to join Colorado as another Designated Player. According to the player’s Twitter profile, the 21-year-old attacking midfielder will be joining the team any day pending a physical and paperwork.
Zac MacMath – The 23-year-old goalkeeper joined the Rapids on loan on Jan. 6. Colorado also gave up their lowest 2nd round pick of 2015 in the loan deal. If MacMath’s loan deal becomes permanent, the Rapids will also give up their highest first-round pick in 2016.
Wes Knight – The 28-year-old and former member of the Vancouver Whitecaps has joined the Rapids on trial at the right fullback position this preseason. To date, he has made 12 league appearances (10 starts).
Francisco Flores – In addition to Knight, Flores joins Colorado on trial at right back. He has garnered several appearances within the Mexican National Team system, playing 11 times for the U-20 team including in CONCACAF U-20 World Cup qualifying and at the 2013 U-20 World Cup.
Oscar Montoya – The former standout of Abraham Lincoln High School is another trialist reported to be with the Rapids this preseason. Montoya joins the Rapids from relative obscurity, playing for local club team Guadalajara Soccer Club of Denver.
Quentin Westberg – This 28-year-old trialist joins the Rapids as a free agent trialist. The Frenchman previously played at Ligue 2 club Troyes from 2006-10, but has represented the United States at a youth international level, with U.S. ties on his father’s side. From 2005-06 he made 16 appearances with the United States U-20s.
2015 Draft Picks:
As reported previously by Mile High Sports, Colorado looked to shore up its defense with young (but sizeable) central defenders Axel Sjoberg and Joseph Greenspan in the early rounds of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft.
Dom Badji – Badji was drafted in the 4th round of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft (67th overall). The Senegalese striker comes to the Rapids via Boston University, where he led the Terriers to their first conference championship final appearance since 2009 with a personal best eight goals and four assists.
Matt Jeffrey – The Rapids continued their trend from earlier in the draft by 6-foot-4 defender Matt Jeffrey (78th overall) out of Monmouth University.
Brandon Fricke – Colorado completed its 2015 draft class by selecting Brandon Fricke (83rd overall) out of Butler University. Fricke started all 18 of Butler’s matches in 2014, including one against Marquette and fellow rookie Axel Sjöberg. Fricke has seen limited action, suffering an injury in the early stages or preseason.
So which players will survive the final cut in preparation for the 2015 season? Stay Tuned…