Clint Irwin, the former Toronto FC goalkeeper, who is now in his second spell with the Colorado Rapids, will be the man expected to take over from Tim Howard as the number one shot-stopper, while Keegan Rosenberry will also return. Alongside the American defender will be the likes of Danny Wilson, Deklan Wynne and Abdul Rwatubyaye, while Kellyn Acosta will continue to start in the Rapids’ midfield in 2020.
The club has been able to keep hold of all of their attacking assets, with the two men to score double-digit goals in 2019, Kei Kamara and Diego Rubio, both remaining in Colorado for this season.
Andre Shinyashiki, Jonathan Price, Nicolas Mezquida and Sam Nicholson will also be looking to chip in with goals and assists as they look to improve on last season’s performances.
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The club saw six players leave at the end of the 2019 season, with the majority of those coming from the backline. But arguably their biggest loss came between the sticks. USMNT, Premier League and MLS legend, Tim Howard, hung up his gloves following a glittering career, having played more than 700 games for club and country.
English-born New Zealand international defender Tommy Smith was one of three defenders who saw their options declined by the Rapids, with both Sam Raben and Kofi Opare also leaving the club via this method. Midfielder Dillon Serna was out of contract following the end of last term, while Swedish defender Axel Sjoberg was waived, before then signing for the Columbus Crew in November.
Colorado may have seen four defenders leave the club, but three have come to replace them, all from rival MLS sides. Lalas Abubakar has made the move from the Crew, costing $400,000 in allocation money and an international roster spot, while the Philadelphia Union received $750,000 and a sell-on clause for American defender Auston Trusty. Drew Moor also arrived on a free transfer after he left Toronto FC at the end of the season.
Another member of TFC’s 2019 squad to sign for Colorado for the new campaign is French forward Nicolas Benezet. He had been on loan from French side Guingamp, who receive a $500,000 transfer fee from the Rapids.
Meanwhile, Argentinian midfielder Braian Galvan will join the club in July from Colon, after seeing out the remainder of his contract with his current club. Also joining the Rapids is Danish midfielder Younes Namli, who signs for the side on a two-year loan deal from Russian side FC Krasnodar. Colorado have the option to make the move permanent at the end of the 2021 campaign.
The Rapids only used one of their four draft picks, having acquired the 37th overall pick from Sporting KC via themselves after a pair of trades saw the pick brought back to Colorado. With it, they selected Virginia defender Robin Afamefuna. The club did not use any of their three draft picks in the latter rounds of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft.
However, they did strike a deal with Montreal Impact for Jeremy Kelly. The Canadian side had drafted the defender with the ninth overall pick but the Rapids traded $75,000 in allocation money to acquire the rights to the North Carolina Tar Heels man.