COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (June 8, 2018) – #AignerGate is finally. An agreement has been reached whereby Colorado Rapids and winger Stefan Aigner terminate the remainder of his three and a half year contract, the club announced today.
Colorado Rapids, Stefan Aigner terminate contract mutually
The 30-year-old German came to MLS last summer towards the end of the transfer window after spending his entire club career in Germany. Aigner was acquired with the help of a trade earlier last season that saw the Rapids gut their defense, sending Sam Cronin and Marc Burch to Minnesota United FC. That freed up cap space and got them Joshua Gatt and Mohammed Saied, neither of whom are still with the club.
That move also got the Rapids an international roster spot. With that and the freed up cap space, they were able to acquire Aigner, who was a free agent, using Targeted Allocation Money. Aigner spent the remainder of the 2018 season getting fit and ended up playing 499 minutes in nine games.
This season, things went horribly wrong. Aigner and new manager Anthony Hudson never seemed to get along, a saga that has been reported on frequently, but with few tangible details coming out from either side. Aigner made just one appearance this season, playing just 11 minutes.
The full details of what caused this fallout and this decision may never be known. Who is at fault or whether this was a mutual falling out may never be known. What is known is that the Rapids spent significant resources and sacrificed the 2017 season to acquire this player.
And that fruit never ripened. Aigner was pigeon-holed in Hudson’s 3-5-2 system, which may have played a factor. He’s naturally been a winger in his career. In the 3-5-2, wingbacks by definition need to defend. You don’t sign Stefan Aigner to defend. With that, he was forced into the midfield, which constrained him technically.
How much of this is on Aigner, Hudson, or other variables? We may never know. What we do know is that the Rapids now have some open cap space and TAM to use in the summer transfer window.