With the secondary FIFA transfer window opening on July 10, many Rapids fans are clamoring for the team to sign an attacker. While that is something that should (and probably will) happen, there are other moves that the team needs to make, including extending current players with expiring contracts.
According to Transfermarkt, the Rapids have 12 players with contracts expiring at the end of 2017. Some players should be renewed, while the Rapids should cut their losses on others. Here’s a breakdown of every expiring contract and what the team ought to do.
CDM – Dillon Powers
Powers has had some great moments for the Rapids in the past, but he has mostly been a source of frustration this season. He’s had his fair share of opportunity in 2017, but he has not taken advantage of it. Michael Azira and Nana Adjei-Boateng, when healthy, have outperformed him in nearly every aspect of the game. His first touch needs work, his decision making is slower than it needs to be, and he’s the fifth highest paid player on the team. At this point, it’s time to cut the losses and let him go.
CDM – Nana Adjei-Boateng
After he developed some chemistry with the team, Adjei-Boateng has shown great promise at the defensive midfielder position. He’s shown a great connection with Michael Azira and has also proven that he can adapt, which was illustrated when he performed well with Mo Saeid as his partner. He sustained a back injury early in the season that forced him to miss two months, but he’s been a vital player for the Rapids since he returned. They need to lock him up. Edit: Adjei-Boateng is signed through 2019 with a team option for 2020.
GK – Zac MacMath
Look, I’d love to sign him because, let’s face it, the Rapids need to begin planning for life without the Secretary of Defense, Tim Howard. The problem is that he most likely won’t sign a new contract. He’s been playing second-fiddle to Howard for nearly two years, and he’s definitely a starting-caliber goalkeeper in MLS. He has not enjoyed spending time on the bench despite the fact that he’s such a talented keeper. The Rapids also have dibs on Academy product Andrew Epstein, who is currently dominating the NCAA at Stanford. So, if MacMath would be willing it would be a prudent move to resign him, but in a likelihood he’ll be moving on from Commerce City at the end of his contract. Edit: MacMath is signed through 2018 with a team option for 2019, but it’s likely that he’ll be moved during this transfer window.
M – Mo Saeid
Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. Saeid has been by far the Rapids’ most dynamic player this season. He’s taken up the role of creator, which the Rapids lacked early in the season, and has excelled. He’s one of the team’s best players on the ball, he has great pace, and when the offense is out successful it is working through him. Saeid is, in my opinion, the most important re-signing for the Rapids.
CB – Bobby Burling
With the way 2017 has gone for the Rapids, they need as much depth at the center back position as they can get. In the match against the Seattle Sounders on July 4, the CB position was so depleted that Eric Miller, usually a left fullback, played center back. Mike da Fonte, usually a right fullback, was also a center back in that game. Burling would provide a starting-caliber backup at the position, and enable the coaching staff to rotate the back line to keep players fit without losing much performance. Re-sign.
CDM – Michael Azira
Azira has quietly been one of the Rapids most consistent players in 2017. As mentioned before, if the team decides to part ways with Powers, they need to keep Azira to have the starting CDM positions filled. Pairing Azira with Adjei-Boateng is a tandem that could work for the Rapids for the years to come. Re-sign. Edit: signed through 2018 with a team option for 2019.
M/F – Josh Gatt
Ah, if only he had finished a couple of his ample opportunities thus far in the season this decision would be easy. The fact is that he hasn’t finished, but he’s been one of the most attack-minded players on the team. Because of this, the Rapids need to keep him. The opportunities that he’s created have been lethal. He consistently puts himself in great positions to score. Eventually he’ll dial it in and find his finishing touch, but his pace and creation alone make him a valuable asset for the Rapids. Re-sign. Edit: Team option for 2018, so it would be prudent to keep him around and work on his finishing.
F – Alan Gordon
The only question about Gordon is his age. He’ll be 36 when the 2018 MLS season begins. Despite that, Gordon has still excelled in his role as a super-sub. He’s had two electrifying game-winning goals in the 89th minute this season. That means he’s single-handedly stolen four points for the Rapids. If he wants to return, the Rapids need to secure him. Having an aerial threat like Air Gordo on the bench for close games is like having an ace in the hole. Re-sign. Edit: Team option for 2018. Not exercising that option would be a mistake.
CB – Kortne Ford
There’s obviously no question here. Ford has been a breakout player this season. He’s provided goals, goal-saving tackles and many an inspirational storyline. And he’s only 21. He has the makings of a star in this league; the Rapids need to wrap him up long-term. Edit: Under team control with team options through 2020.
FB – Dennis Castillo
Castillo is young, and has provided some good plays for the Rapids this season, namely his game-winning goal against the OKC Energy in the U.S. Open Cup. With that said, he hasn’t proven enough to deserve a roster spot. He’s fouled a lot when he’s played MLS competition, a tell-tale sign that he’s a little bit behind the pace of play. If the Rapids can stash him in Charlotte, then good. But he shouldn’t be a priority. Edit: team options for 2018 and 2019.
GK – Cody Mizell
Howard still has two years on his contract after the 2017 season, and with Epstein coming up, it’s unlikely Mizell will see any playing time. So, for the benefit of both the club and Mizell’s own career, they should part ways, especially with John Berner being ahead of him in the pecking order. Edit: Was waived and re-signed in Charlotte in the beginning of the season. Insurance was needed after Howard and Berner had injuries early in the year.
M – Sam Hamilton
The Colorado native and University of Denver product has had many opportunities in his rookie season, and he hasn’t played badly. He hasn’t played astoundingly, but he hasn’t played himself out of a roster spot. He deserves to be on the roster as a reserve and to continue his development as an MLS player. Re-sign. Edit: Under club control through 2020 with options.
The Rapids don’t need to make all of these moves in this transfer window. As I said before, all of these players are locked up through the 2017 season. However, there’s nothing wrong with getting a jump on solidifying the roster. Some of these decisions could also change depending on who the Rapids bring in in the window. But they need to commit to their core so they can focus on their weaknesses.