Colorado unveiled their new jersey today and it matches the leaked version from a week or so ago. They'll have a live showing it at the 'Cheers to the Rapids' event on March 19th.
Good solid jersey this year, though I'm still not thrilled with the color change on the stripes. I'll probably pass on a new kit this season as I bought last year's but if I hadn't I wouldn't object to buying this one.
A number of player announcements today. The big one is that, as expected, Jose Mari was officially signed today. Mari has returned to Spain to work out his paperwork for his permanent move to Colorado and is expected to rejoin the team later this week. He'll be eligible to play once his visa and ITC come through.
In a windy, rainy, ugly game in Tucson yesterday Colorado finished their preseason slate with a 2-2 draw against New England. The starting XI:
Irwin Sturgis - Moor - Wynne - Klute Mari - LaBrocca Serna - Powers - Hill Buddle After an early goal from the Revs the Rapids tied it up in the 25th minute after Serna capitalized on a defensive miscue.
Maybe its just a glitch, but it appears every mention of John Metgod has been removed from ColoradoRapids.com. This includes taking his name off the list of Technical Staff, removing the press release announcing his addition to the staff (seen here at MLSsoccer.com) and the video that they posted of him reviewing the team's SuperDraft results.
The drama of this week put me off of tracking the Rapids first two games down in Tucson so let's get caught up. First on Wednesday Colorado played Chicago in their first Cup game. The starting XI was:
Berner Edward - Watts - Moor - Klute Guzman - Galindo Sanchez - Hairston - Eloundou Brown Still very much a preseason lineup as some players (Edward, Guzman, Galindo) are still being evaluated for roster spots while others (Eloundou, Hairston, Berner) are being evaluated for how they fit with some of the likely starters.
An expected and unexpected announcement today. First. as expected, the Rapids announced the signing of GK John Berner. With the signing the Rapids have 4 GK's on the roster (Irwin, Nasco, Berner, and Pickens) but as we've seen Pickens will almost certainly not be with the team this year.
Secondly, surprisingly, Kory Kindle announced his retirement from soccer.
Last night in Vegas Colorado lost its first preseason game 2-1. Both Chivas goals were off penalty kicks, reportedly very soft PKs by those watching the game. The Rapids goal was from Deshorn Brown in the 16th minute, assisted by Dillon Serna and Vicente Sanchez. The starting XI was:
Irwin Edward - Watts - Wynne - Bursch Guzman - LaBrocca Serna - Sanchez - Eloundou Brown In the 61st minute Colorado swapped all 10 field players:
Irwin Ibikunle - Moor - VDC - Klute Sturgis - Hairston Chavez - Hill - Galindo Torres Despite the score the Rapids had better chances and looked like the better team.
The Rapids scrimmaged UNLV today before their exhibition game against Chivas USA on Sunday. The opening lineup:
Berner Ibikunle - Van De Casteele - Moor - Klute Sturgis - Hairston Chavez- Galindo - Torres Hill and after the 60th minute, when all 10 field players were subbed: Berner Edward - Wynne - Watts - Burch LaBrocca - Guzman Serna - Sanchez - Eloundou Brown Newly signed keeper Joe Nasco has left camp for a couple of days to deal with a family issue, so Berner got to go the full 90.
Still no official word on Jose Mari but the Rapids did announce two signings today. 2nd round Superdraft pick midfielder Jared Watts and trialist goalkeeper Joe Nasco (formally with Atlanta) both penned deals today. This gives us some depth at both keeper and d-mid. The Terrace blog also reports today that drftee goalkeeper John Berner will probably be signed soon, giving us the standard 3 keepers after Pickens is moved or sold.
Today the Rapids announced that Spaniard Jose Maria Martin Bejarano-Serrano (commonly known as Jose Mari) will join up with the team when they arrive in Las Vegas tomorrow, with the hope the team can work out a deal with him. Mari is a 26 year old defensive midfielder who has played his whole career in Spain.
Yesterday the Rapids finished out their week in Houston with a scrimmage against Houston Baptist University. Again they made changes every 30 minutes. The lineups through the game:
First 30 minutes: Irwin Ibikunle - Van De Casteele - Moor - Klute Watts - LaBrocca Sanchez - Torres - Chavez Brown Second 30: Irwin Ibikunle - Van De Casteele - Moor - Klute Guzman - Sturgis Sanchez - Torres - Chavez Buddle After half: Nasco Edward - Wynne - Kindle - Bursch Guzman - Sturgis Serna - Hill - Eloundou Brown In the 52nd minute Eloundou was injured with what's being called a high ankle sprain and was replaced by Hairston.
OK, after a couple of days to enjoy the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks its time to get back to the Rapids preseason. One Colorado team managed to win on Sunday as the Rapids beat the Dynamo 3-2 in a scrimmage in Houston. The teams played 3 30-minute periods with the second one split up with a normal halftime after 45.
A look at the West, for those of us from the East (image: logoinspirations.com)
New OTF contributor Cory Jensen brings you a detailed look at the teams we in Fireland only have the pleasure of meeting once a year...
In all reality, Major League Soccer's eastern conference has garnered all the preseason attention with Michael Bradley, Jermaine Defoe, DC United's reconstruction, and the impending introduction of NYCFC.
You just can't get enough of MLS savant Stephen Mangat's .gif parade, can you?
MLS First Kick is right around the corner, so let's do it West Coast stylee...
San Jose Earthquakes
The Earthquakes are like this year's Barcelona (first time anyone has ever said that, I'm betting) still capable of hitting the heights of prior years, but not with the same consistency when the team was at its peak.
The Houston Dynamo and Colorado Rapids have made history, agreeing to the first Intra-league loan in MLS.
The Dynamo and Rapids announced Tuesday that they have made a deal that will see Houston send Colorado an international roster spot in exchange for a season-long loan for versatile midfielder Tony Cascio.
In part two of our 2014 season preview, we take a closer look at the eight teams that currently share the Western Conference with the Portland Timbers. Portland ended up finishing 2013 on top of the standings, but they'll have plenty of competition for the that level this season. Real Salt Lake advanced to MLS Cup but they'll need to adjust to a new coach, Los Angeles, FC Dallas and San Jose return their main core of players, while Seattle underwent a bit of an overhaul in their locker room while there still isn't a coach in charge of Colorado.
The Rapids have just announced that the home game against Chivas USA that was scheduled for July 26th has been moved to the prior evening, July 25th, at 7:30pm This is due to yesterday's announcement of the Manchester United- Roma friendly on July 26th at Sports Authority.
We are now inside of 14 days until the opening kickoff of the season and we still have no head coach. This can't be considered normal or a logical strategy. I know the FO is focused on finding the right fit who will stay in Colorado a long time, but how much of the current team are they willing to sacrifice for that future?
This is being posted exactly 4 weeks before the opening kick of the Rapids season at 2pm on March 15th. As of this moment the Rapids still officially have no head coach. Not only that, the only rumors we've heard about when it comes to specific candidates is the on-going talk around Pablo Mastroeni. This was most evident in the quote from Jose Mari earlier this week:
I know that the coach, Pablo, is an institution at the club, that he's been here for many years and is a very important man for the Colorado Rapids organization.
The Rapids announced on Saturday that Pablo "will be at the head of our group of coaches" as preseason opens, but they went out of their way to avoid calling him Head Coach, using terms like "leading" and "in charge". I still believe its just a matter of time before he''s given the title. Maybe after this weekend's scrimmage against Houston so he can have at least one game under his belt.
Just a quick update today. Reuben Ayarna, who joined the Rapids in camp while they were in Houston, did not return to Denver with the team. That leaves the 4 draft picks plus Nasco, Galindo, and Guzman as the unsigned players in camp. Today's training was the last full session before the team leaves for Vegas later this week.
The Rapids had their first practice today and we got the first list of trialists in camp. We also found out that, currently, Hendry Thomas, Martin Rivero, and Anthony Wallace are not with the team. The three trialists are:
Joe Nasco - Goalkeeper: Made 3 appearances in the last 2 years with the Atlanta Silverbacks (Chris Klute's old team)
Juan Guzman - Midfielder: Made 11 appearances in the last 4 years with the Charlotte Eagles
Samuel Galindo - Midfielder: The big news of the day.
We were told United would bring in trialists, and Ayarna - who played college soccer in the US before heading to the Swedish league - is among them.
Despite appearing to have a settled roster, D.C. United will be bringing in trialists for the final leg of camp in Charleston, SC. The first such trialist is defensive midfielder Reuben Ayarna, news first reported by Pablo Maurer of MLSsoccer.
The Fire lost their shut out streak but still managed to stay undefeated this preseason by defeating the Colorado Rapids 2-1 in Tucson, Arizona. Frank Yallop said he would play trialists and young players in this match and the "B" squad impressed yet again. A midfield featuring Logan Pause in the holding role with Victor Pineda, Harry Shipp, Benji Joya, and Grant Ward ahead of him had the better of the play against a combination of Rapids reserves and starters.
The Rapids left this morning for their week long training stint in Houston. Everyone in camp traveled except 4 players. Mullan, Mwanga, and Powers stayed behind to recover from their injuries. Matt Pickens is still excused from camp and hasn't joined the team yet. That screams "working out a trade" to me.
As the U.S. Men's National Team prepares to head back home from a 12-day dry run in Sao Paulo, Brazil, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has decided to trim down the roster.
U.S. Soccer announced on Friday afternoon that Klinsmann sent five players home while calling up new Columbus Crew signing Michael Parkhurst to his final squad of 22 players for the upcoming friendly match against South Korea.