While the Colorado Rapids and the other 20 franchises around Major League Soccer participate in preseason activities, the league and the MLS Players Union are currently in negotiations to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement. Currently, there is no “free agency” in MLS in the traditional sense, which has been part of the ongoing negotiations, but that doesn’t mean that the league is immune from its share of player movement.
This week, Mile High Sports takes a look at which Rapids players from the 2014 season are no longer in Colorado and where those players have landed.
The Rapids declined the options of 17 players entering the expansion draft, including Gale Agbossoumonde, Carlos Alvarez, John Berner, Edson Buddle, Marc Burch, Tony Cascio, Geoffrey Castillion, Charles Eloundou, Kamani Hill, Dimitry Imbongo, José Mari, Brian Mullan, Danny Mwanga, John Neeskens, Thomas Piermayr, Grant Van De Casteele, and Marvell Wynne.
At the time, Rapids technical director Paul Bravo said, “Some of these players may be back with us by the time we begin training in January as many things could change between now and then.”
True to his word, several of those players have returned to the club and are listed on the team’s current roster for the preseason. These players include Alvarez, Berner, Burch, Eloundou, Neeskens and Van De Casteele.
But just like Bravo said, many things have changed, here’s a look at where some of those now former Rapids have landed.
Of the players whose options were declined, Dimitry Imbongo and Geoffrey Castillion should be the least familiar to Rapids fans. The two were acquired briefly by the Rapids from the New England Revolution in exchange for goalkeeper Joe Nasco and a third round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.
The Rapids also acquired a second-round pick in this deal, which they packaged to the Philadelphia Union in the loan deal for goalkeeper Zach MacMath.
Currently Imbongo and Castillion are both out of MLS. Imbongo is reportedly on trial with Kapfenberger SV in Austria while Castillion recently signed a contract with Romanian team Universitatea Cluj.
Edson Buddle – The veteran striker and former member of the L.A. Galaxy has returned to his old club: as a trialist. He was spotted in the Galaxy’s preseason activities but his spot on the team is not guaranteed. When asked about the situation, L.A. coach Bruce Arena responded, “We’ll see where he is physically and how he fits into the group. We’re going to let this evolve and see where we stand. Everyone that is here has a chance to make our team.”
Gale Agbossoumonde – After being acquired in a multi-team deal that sent Marvin Chavez to Chivas last season, Agbossoumonde, a former U.S. International, failed to even make the field for the Rapids in 2014. The 23-yeard-old signed a deal with the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the NASL in late December.
Tony Cascio – Cascio spent the entirety of last season on loan with the Houston Dynamo before succumbing to injury. Left unprotected in the expansion draft by the Rapids, Cascio was selected by expansion club Orlando City in the second round.
Danny Mwanga – Like Cascio, Mwanga spend a brief loan period away from the Rapids in 2014. Also like Cascio, Mwanga departed from the Rapids when his was selected by an expansion franchise. The two were reunited when Orlando selected Mwanga in the eighth round of the expansion draft.
Jose Mari – The Rapids declined Mari’s option in December along with the announcement of the 27-year-old Spaniard’s intent to return to his native country. In early January, he signed a deal to return to Spain’s top-flight with a one and a half-year deal with Levante UD.
Brian Mullan – Riddled with injuries, the former Regis High School standout all but officially announced his retirement last season. The 36-year-old has assisted the team’s coaching staff in the preseason, although his exact role with the Colorado Rapids has yet to be announced.
Thomas Piermayr and Kamani Hill – Little current information is available regarding these two players, although for now it is safe to assume that both have returned to their home bases, California for Hill and Austria for Piermayr.
Marvell Wynne – After having his option declined, Wynne was selected by the San Jose Earthquakes in the MLS Re-Entry Draft which took place in mid-December. Wynne was present at the ‘Quakes preseason activities and new head coach Dominic Kinnear (a former Rapid himself) was optimistic for the team to strike a deal with the 28-year-old defender.
Joe Nasco – Following the previously aforementioned trade to New England, the 30-year-old returned to the NASL ranks, signing a deal with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in late January.
Davy Armstrong – The Rapids first ever Homegrown Player was one of several young players and surprise faces to receive minutes from Pablo Mastroeni last season, but was unable to breakthrough as a consistent in-game contributor. The Aurora, Colo. Native will continue playing professional soccer in his home state, however, recently signing a contract with the Colorado Springs Switchbacks of the USL PRO ranks.
Chris Klute – Klute and the Rapids’ 19th overall pick were traded to Columbus prior to the MLS SuperDraft in exchange for the Crew’s 14th overall pick and allocation money. Later on during draft day, Colorado used some of that allocation money to trade for veteran midfielders Marcelo Sarvas (L.A.) and Sam Cronin (San Jose), moves that improved the face value of the trade.
Zat Knight – Knight and the Rapids “mutually parted ways” on Feb. 2. In an announcement by the club, Colorado Rapids technical director Paul Bravo said, “We have decided to remodel our defense this season and, to achieve that, have signed important players across the backline and in goal. In the circumstances, both sides decided to part ways. But we would like to wish Zat all the best for the future.”
Complicated enough? Next week, MHS will take a look at which new players will be joining the Colorado Rapids squad for the 2015 season.