Colorado Rapids Trade Cronin And Burch To Minnesota: Shedding Years, Leaving Some Gaps

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COMMERCE CITY, CO - MARCH 18: Colorado Rapids defender Marc Burch #4 battles Minnesota United midfielder Jerome Thiesson #3 to advance the ball in the first half at Dick's Sporting Goods Park March 18, 2017 in Commerce City, Colorado. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Commerce City, CO (March 31, 2017) – It’s official. The Colorado Rapids have traded Captain Sam Cronin and Marc Burch to Minnesota United FC. In return, they have obtained Mohammed Saeid, Josh Gatt, and an International Roster Spot. My head hurts, let’s break this whole thing down.

Colorado Rapids Trade Cronin And Burch To Minnesota: Shedding Years, Leaving Some Gaps

Cronin has captained the Rapids for a few years now and had one of his best seasons last year. He just turned 30-years-old. We’re starting to see a trend since the Dax McCarty trade: MLS teams are beginning to move key pieces before they depreciate. Cronin is a very physical midfielder in his tenth year professionally. His trade value is going to go down starting this year. If you were going to trade him, now would be the time.

The same can be said for starting left back Marc Burch. Burch has been quietly excellent for Colorado the last two years. He’s gotten more involved in the attack recently; he rarely makes a bad defensive decision. That said, he’s turning 33-years-old in May. If you were going to trade him and get value, this would be the year.

What Minnesota Gains:

The Loons have been a clown fire defensively since joining MLS. They’ve got a lot of young players and limited veteran leadership with MLS experience. This trade gets them two solid defensive players. Cronin can be a shield in front of the back line and get the ball forward to start the attack.

While they’ve still got lots of issues at center back, Burch can hold down things on the left. That will allow his wing partner like Bashkim Kadrii or Miguel Ibarra to have less defensively responsibility. It also gives them a chance to overlap together.

This isn’t just a great trade for United from a position standpoint. These are two grizzled veterans. They’ll bring some bite and some leadership to the club. I wouldn’t be shocked if Cronin wears the Captain’s Armband at some point this season. Minnesota isn’t in win now mode. These two players could finish their careers with the Loons, giving them time to get the kinds ready or acquire some long term solutions to their problems.

Josh Gatt was clearly a bench attacker for them. He’s yet to play a minute all season. Saeid has played several positions, so his versatility is a loss. There’s plenty of ways for Minnesota to get an International Roster Spot back if they need it.

What This Means For Colorado:

This trade is a huge blow to the veteran presence in the locker room at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. That said, they have replacements on the field. This trade clearly shows the Rapids leadership is comfortable with Nana Boateng being a contributor in the middle. He and Michael Azira can start in the middle together. Azira can be a pure No. 6. Boateng can be a deep lying playmaker, something the Rapids haven’t really had.

Left back is a bit of a question mark though. Burch started 27 games at left back last season. Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni has played a few other players there at times, but no one’s really stood out. Eric Miller and Mekeil Williams have both made mistakes at right back this year. Dennis Castillo is also more of a right back than a left back. He’s only played four games in MLS.

Given his versatility, there’s a non-zero possibility Saeid starts at left back. He’d have the ok to go forward and attack. He’d just need a defensively conscious wing partner in front of him. Saeid also brings another option at four of the five midfield positions. He’ll certainly be a regular in the 18.

Gatt is a bit of mystery. He’s yet to play in MLS. He hasn’t played significant club minutes since 2012 and has had injury troubles. Given that, I doubt he’s above a Marlon Hairston or Dominique Badji in the pecking order. The 25-year-old could be spending much of season on the bench.

It’s still too early to tell, but my initial reaction is that the Rapids traded two starters who were known quantities for a possible starter and a bench player. This does give Colorado flexibility for the summer transfer window. Advantage Minnesota.

O Captain! My Captain!

The other big question for the Rapids with this trade is senior leadership. They’ve got plenty of leadership and MLS experience. They don’t have a lot of elite leadership in the Starting XI with MLS experience though. By presence, goalkeeper Tim Howard is probably most suited to wear the armband now. That said, I’ve never been a fan of keepers being captain. If Shkelzen Gashi is able to stay healthy, he’d be a good candidate. Other than that, I’m not sure.

This is an excellent opportunity for the younger generation to step up on multiple levels. #NextManUp has been one of Mastroeni’s mantras. The coaching staff has done a good job surrounding the younger players with veteran leadership in the past. Now’s their chance to show what they’ve learned without the safety net that Cronin brings on and off the field.

At first glance, I still think Minnesota won this trade.

Transaction: Colorado Rapids (MLS) – March, 31, 2017 – The Rapids acquire midfielder Mohammed Saeid, attacker Josh Gatt, and one international slot from Minnesota United FC in exchange for defender Marc Burch.

Transaction: Colorado Rapids (MLS) – March, 31, 2017 – The Rapids waive midfielder Sam Cronin who gets acquired off waivers by Minnesota United FC.

Full Name: Mohammed Saeid
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5’7″
Weight: 141 lbs.
Birth Date: December 24, 1990
Birthplace: Örebro, Sweden
Hometown: Örebro, Sweden

Full Name: Josh Gatt
Position: Midfielder/Forward
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 165 lbs.
Birth Date: August 29, 1991
Birthplace: Plymouth, Michigan
Hometown: Plymouth, Michigan

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