Why The Colorado Rapids Are Poised For A Comeback Season


We all know how poorly the Colorado Rapids represented the Western Conference this past season, but we also know how great they once were.  With the departure of some recent ‘dead’ weight and the adoption of a younger and more skillful look, the Rapids are favored to bounce back from their disappointing 2015 season. 

As the 2105 MLS Playoffs drew to a close, the Colorado Rapids began offloading players.  The Rapids saw the likes of  Maynor Figueroa, Designated Player Gabriel Torres and many more walk, either out of contract or on a declined option for renewal.

“We have had to make some very difficult decisions over our roster but that is all part of the process of change,” Rapids VP of soccer operations and technical director Paul Bravo said in a club statement. “We are completely committed to improving on the pitch in 2016 and this is the first stage.”

And that is just what the organization is doing as 2016 has already brought Rapids fans two major signings within a couple of days of each other.

Shkelzen Gashi,the 27 year old Albania midfielder will add pace to this already speedy Colorado lineup.  With accumulated minutes in both the Swiss Super League and Euro 2016 Qualifying campaign, this player can bring nothing but experience and goal scoring ability to Mastroeni’s men.  As for other acquisitions, the Rapids managed to take Marco Pappa off of the Sounders’s hands as well as the Pennsylvania native, Zach Pfeffer from the Union.  Both players, different in age, but similar in position, will create numerous chances down each flank and be able to provide Kevin Doyle with some much needed service.

As for defense, the Rapids shipped one of their most fabled defenders in Drew Moor to Toronto FC, leaving quite a void to fill.  Not to worry, the Rapids have seemed to have found a bulkier, tougher, and slightly taller replacement in the CONCACAF defender Mekeil Williams.  The Trinidad and Toboggan will look to learn from veterans like Burling, Burch, and St. Ledger, but is also in the same boat, experience and age wise, as Watts and Greenspan.

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A couple other players to watch out for this season would be Marlon Hairston, Zac Macmath, and Luis Solignac.  All players coming from different backgrounds, but never really making their mark throughout a whole season with past teams or the Rapids.

Hariston, who was drafted by the Rapids in 2014, has made 25 appearances under Mastroeni since joining the club, but injuries and roster depth kept him out of play for most of the 2015 season.  He has established himself as a down and out attacking winger, but can he stay healthy?

In MacMath’s case, consistency has haunted him, not injury.  Drafted by the Union in 2011, MacMath would go on to make 100 appearances for Philadelphia, at times his best and others not so.  With Clint Irwin gone, MacMath and Berner are in direct competition.

Lastly, how dangerous can Solignac be?  After joining the Rapids mid-way through the 2015 season, he would go on to start 14 games, accumulating 2 assists in the process.  Solignac, Argentine born, will look to enter pockets of space and create chances for his teammates with creativity and speed.  Mastroeni and Colorado fans alike are hoping for their own Diego Valeri or Javier Morales.

With the 2016 MLS season right around the corner, the Rapids look to bring back past success.  With new signings and a host of young players at his disposal, Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni can finally start to put together a week in and week out consistent starting eleven.  And with the recent inquiry of Tim Howard, the Rapids are finally gaining back the confidence that led the franchise to the MLS Championship in 2010.  What do you think, can Colorado rise from the dead and become a Western Conference contender once again?