Editorial (January 11, 2019) – The firs two rounds of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft is over. The Colorado Rapids had a very busy day, both on the draft floor and elsewhere. Let’s recap to the Rapids draft day that was.
Colorado Rapids Draft Day: Andre Shinyashiki and defensive depth
The Rapids came into the day with one first round and two second round picks, 15th, 28th, and 42nd overall.
Pre-Draft: Benny Feilhaber, the No. 10 the Rapids have needed
Prior to the draft, the Rapids announced the rumored signing of midfielder Benny Feilhaber. The 33-year-old will be a maximum budget salary player on a one year contract with a one year option. He was a quality No. 8 for Los Angeles FC in 2018 but is most known for his time with Sporting KC as a central playmaker, winning MLS Cup in 2013. Expect Feilhaber to move to the top of the diamond as the primary No. 10 for the Rapids. He’ll be an integral part of the attack alongside several former KC teammates.
Trade up for Shinyashiki:
As the Rapids front office put it, they thought he was the best player in the draft. Shinyashiki was the most prolific goalscorer in college soccer this past year with the University of Denver. The Rapids moved up in the draft to take him at #5, swapping first round picks with Chicago Fire along with some allocation money headed to Chicago. It’ll be interesting to see where Shinyashiki ends up position-wise given the other attackers the Rapids have brought it. That said, because he went to college in town, the front office has to be familiar with him and have a plan.
Defensive depth drafted:
With their two second round picks, the Rapids selected left back Marcello Borges and center back Jacob Hauser-Ramsey from the University of Michigan and the University of Connecticut, respectively. Borges has a high work rate on both sides of the ball and could be in play to get minutes with the first team given the only true left back on the roster right now is homegrown Sam Vines.
Hauer-Ramsey’s future will be more up in the air because the Rapids already have four center backs the coaching staff is committed two, five counting Deklan Wynne. Most MLS teams don’t have five pure center backs on their roster. Even if he signs, the UConn Husky could be seeing time on loan at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.
Happy trails Marlon Hairston:
The club was looking to trade (mostly) defender Marlon Hairston going into the draft. They ended up sending him to the Houston Dynamo for $175,000 in GAM, $125,000 for this year, and $50,000 of 2020 GAM. Hairston was a major part of the Rapids, playing up and down the wing, both as a winger and outside back. He had a disappointing 2018 season though, as he was unable to lock down the starting right wing back position and had injury issues.
Rapids supporters will remember him fondly, but Houston will be looking to make him a reclamation project in a new environment this year.