Colorado Rapids Center Backs: Da Fonte Signs, Sjöberg Has Surgery

COMMERCE CITY, COLORADO - FEBRUARY 12: Colorado Rapids defender Axel Sjoberg, #44, middle, warms up with teammates before soccer practice on the practice fields at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on February 12, 2017 in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

COMMERCE CITY, CO (March 14, 2017) – The Colorado Rapids have signed Sacramento Republic FC center back Mike da Fonte. This comes at a great time given that Axel Sjöberg will be out for a while.

Colorado Rapids Center Backs: Da Fonte Signs, Sjöberg Has Surgery

The Da Fonte deal was in the works long before last weekend, when Sjöberg got hurt. He was a big part of Sac Republic’s team last year. If you’ve never seen him play, he’s good in the air on corner kicks and he’s pretty good at slide tackles. He’s proven his worth at the USL level.

What’s curious about the timing of this signing is that Da Fonte was probably coming in as the fourth (possibly fifth) choice center back. Sjöberg and Jared Watts are the starters. Bobby Burling and Homegrown Kortne Ford are available on the bench. It’s convenient that the club signed him when they did given the circumstances. Da Fonte might still be outside the 18 come match day. Regardless, this might be the deepest team at center back in the league.

He might even be loaned down to the Charlotte Independence. Though I don’t think he’d have signed with the club if that was the assumed plan given what Rapids Sporting Director Pádraig Smith had to say.

“Mike impressed in our preseason meeting with Sacramento last year and we continued to track his progress. He provides competition and increased depth to our already strong defensive core,” said Smith. “He is a player who we think has the necessary tools to be successful at the next level.”

Sjöberg was injured in last weekend’s game against the New York Red Bulls. He had surgery this past week and will be out for approximately six to eight weeks. This his a blow to the Rapids. Sjöberg was arguably their best defender, especially in the air. Still, Burling is a reliable veteran in MLS. The group should be able to adjust seamlessly.

TRANSACTION: Colorado Rapids – March 14, 2017 – Rapids sign defender Mike da Fonte to a two-year contract.

Full Name: Mike da Fonte
Position: Defender
Height: 6’
Weight: 170
Birth Date: April 18, 1991
Birthplace: Ossining, NY
Hometown: Ossining, NY