Editorial (February 8, 2019) – The Colorado Rapids preseason is in full swing. As part of their second out-of-state trip, they are in Chula Vista, CA and have already played a preseason friendly (a 1-0 loss to FC Cincinnati with both sides rotating the squad). The Rapids roster stands at 26 players and there isn’t much room for fringe trialists trying to make the cut.
Colorado Rapids Preseason: Club parts ways with all but one unsigned SuperDraft pick
With the club headed to California to continue preseason, the Rapids announced several players were released prior to that camp. Enoch Mushagalusa as well as MLS SuperDraft picks Robbie Mertz and Marcelo Borges are no longer with the club. First round pick Andre Shinyashiki signed with the club shortly after the draft. Presumably, they’ll be looking for opportunities elsewhere, probably in the USL.
That leaves just Jacob Hauser-Ramsey in camp but unsigned with the club. The Rapids also have several younger academy players in camp as well.
None of these decisions should come as much surprise. The SuperDraft has become very front-loaded in talent. The Generation Adidas players and a handful of seniors are ready to contribute at the MLS level. There’s a few blue chip players who could develop in a few years. Outside of the first half of the first round, most players get invited to preseason but don’t make the cut.
Shinyashiki was clearly in that elite group ready to participate with the first team from day one. The other three players were question marks. The Rapids have a plethora of options in the midfield so it was going to be tough for Mertz to stick around. Borges is a bit more surprising, given that the club is trying to fill the left back position with Edgar Castillo gone.
That said, left back is Deklan Wynne’s natural position and the club is very high on him. Homegrown Sam Vines has a lot of potential as well. Most MLS teams don’t carry three players on the roster who’s first position is left back. One might have expected Borges to challenge for a contract given the circumstances or at least get a chance with USL affiliate Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.
Hauser-Ramsey is still facing an uphill battle. The Rapids have four center backs who’ve established themselves with the club. They also signed Sam Raben (who’s training with the Switchbacks) this off-season. The UConn product is going to have to differentiate himself from the other defenders in terms of skill set. He could also be fighting for a loan opportunity with Colorado Springs.