Colorado Rapids Goalkeeper Depth Chart Shuffle Up

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TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 29: Clint Irwin (1) of Toronto FC warms up before the second leg of the MLS Cup eastern conference final between Toronto FC and Columbus Crew on November 29, 2017, at BMO Field in Toronto, ON, Canada. (Photograph by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Editorial (December 16, 2018) – The Colorado Rapids goalkeeper depth chart had some changes earlier this week. Tim Howard is still the expected starter and club captain but the changes on the bench could impact the team significantly in 2020.

Colorado Rapids Goalkeeper Shuffle Up

First, Andrew Dykstra was out of contract after the 2018 season and will not return. Zac MacMath was traded to Vancouver Whitecaps FC before the MLS Expansion Draft. In Stage 1 of the Re-Entry draft, they picked up backup Andre Rawls. The same day, they traded for former Rapid Clint Irwin, who’s contract option was declined by Toronto FC.

In 2018, the Rapids goalkeeper depth chart was Tim Howard, Zac MacMath, then Andrew Dykstra. For 2020, the expected order will be Howard, Clint Irwin, and Andre Rawls.

What the changes mean for the club:

The first thing to look at are the player salaries. The incoming goalkeepers made a combined $12,000 more than the departed ones in 2018. Rawls made close to the league minimum in 2018, so it’s expected he’ll be around the same and take up a supplemental or reserve roster spot. His contract will be what his 2019 option was in his contract as the Rapids selected him in Stage 1 of the Re-Entry Draft.

Rawls has been a career USL goalkeeper and has yet to make his MLS debut. He could be one of the players loaned down to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC for much of the year.

Irwin made $221,000 in 2018. Because the Rapids traded for him instead of taking him in the Re-Entry draft, they will have the opportunity to renegotiate his contract. Given he’ll be a backup in 2019, he will probably be taking a pay cut for 2019.

Multiple personnel within the club have stated that Howard will play out the remainder of his contract, through 2019. Pending a significant change, one would expect Irwin to step into the starting role after that. His new contract could include a pay bump for 2020 to reflect that along with some performance incentives.

Irwin was a part of the Rapids from 2013-2015, but other than Axel Sjoberg, does not yet have a report with the defenders in the squad.

In the pipeline:

Irwin is 29-years-old and is about to enter his prime as an American goalkeeper. Rawls is only 26-years-old. It’s very possible that Irwin will be the long term plan post-Howard. The Rapids have a number of academy goalkeeper options in the next 3-4 years that could provide depth or play in Colorado Springs.

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