Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Schedule Updates

Updates on two Rapids game came out today.

  • The Charity Shield match against Seattle will be Friday, March 19th at 7pm. this will replace the Blue & Burgundy game. Tickets will be $10 - $20 with all proceeds going to Haiti relief. Season ticket holders will get one free ticket.
  • The season opener at Chivas has been moved back from Sunday the 28th to Friday the 26th at 8:30pm Mountain. I'm not sure what could cause this move.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Two-Year Anniversary!!!

Today is the two-year anniversary of this blog. 396 posts in two years, or a little over every-other day. That's better than I expected to do. I'm not sure how many people out there are still reading, but to those who are left, I hope I'm not boring you. ;)

Along with the anniversary news there was a bit of Rapids news today. The team announced that they will host Seattle in mid-March in what the Front Office is calling the first ever MLS Charity Shield match. All proceeds will go to Haitian relief. This is a great move by the Rapids, and as a Seattle native I'm quite happy with the opponent as well.

Also the Rapids expect to announce the full 2010 schedule sometime next week.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Training Camp Opens Today!

The Rapids reported to Commerce City today to start training camp. The first practice is scheduled for Wednesday. We are almost exactly two months from the opening game and its time for Colorado to figure out what they have. They enter camp with the following players on the roster:

Under Senior Contract:
Matt Pickens

Julian Baudet
Ty Harden
Kosuke Kimura
Drew Moor
Scott Palguta

Mehdi Ballouchy
Colin Clark
Greg Dalby
Nick LaBrocca
Jeff Larentowicz
Pablo Mastroeni
Jamie Smith
Wells Thompson

Conor Casey
Omar Cummings
Facundo Diz
Pat Noonan

Under Contract (type unknown):
Andre Akpan

Under Development Contract:
Steward Ceus

Michael Holody
Rob Valentino

Ciaran O'Brien

Ross Schunk

Drafted but Unsigned:
Chad Borak

Chris Cutshaw
Ross LaBauex

So that's 18 senior players and 5 development players already under contract plus Akpan. Last year the roster limits were 20 senior players and 4 development players. The new CBA will have a big influence on the roster limits this year, but for know I'll proceed assuming they will not be changed. Depending on Akpan the Rapids can still sign 1 or 2 senior players, but they are already over the limit on development players. Bravo has talked about more moved to come, so I think we have to assume that would include adding another senior player or two, so anyone on the edge might be in trouble.

I think the players in biggest trouble are Greg Dalby, who's done nothing, and Mehdi Ballouchy who's shown he can't run a MLS offense. I wouldn't be shocked to see Facundo Diz and/or Pat Noonan cut if another forward is brought in. From the development players I think Ross Shunk faces immediate competition form Andre Akpan. The GA status of O'Brien and Valentino makes them harder to cut, but I'm sure we're shopping them around. Holody looked decent in his outings last year, and Ceus has a shot at backing up Pickens. The un-signed draftees have a tough hill to climb to claim a spot on a roster that's already pretty young.

Now that camp has opened we should start to see some real roster churn. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Final Trade Update - I Hope

The Rapids just sent an email to season ticket holders announcing the Gibbs/Burpo/Thompson/Larentowicz trade and confirming that they've re-signed Larentowicz to a neew contract. It also confirms that we sent New England our 3rd round pick next year and allocation money.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Trade Complete, I Think

After a report from George Tanner earlier today that the trade with the Revs was off it appears the trade has been completed. The details:

Rapids get Wells Thompson and the rights to Jeff Larentowicz

Revolution get Cory Gibbs, the rights to Preston Burpo (who Bravo told me was out of contract this offseason), a 3rd round pick in 2011, and allocation money

To me this deal hinges on two things. How much allocation money and do the Rapids get Larentowicz under contract. As long as we didn't give up significantly more allocation money than we got from Toronto for Peterson then I'm OK with it. If we gave up 200K+ I've got to wonder what we're thinking. Allocation amounts are rarely made public in trades so we'll never know for sure.

I can't believe we would trade this much if we didn't already know we could sign Larentowicz to a new contract. Assuming that's the case I think it is a good to maybe great deal for the Rapids. We move off an expensive, overpaid center back, of which we have 6-7 and a backup goalkeeper that was reportedly unhappy to be a backup. In return we get some depth in the wings with Thompson and a player on the edge of the National Team (Larentowicz was in camp this off-season until a knee injury forced him to leave). He can immediately move into midfield along side Pablo with no significant drop-off from either Ballouchy or LaBrocca.

While I don't think this is a significant step forward it certainly isn't a step back. God solid move by the FO, if Larentowicz signs.

Trade Updates

Multiple trade updates:
  • Peterson traded for allocation money - No great loss IMO. With his injury he wouldn't be at 100% until late in the season anyway, and he was at best a backup. It increases our need to get more wing depth.
  • Reports are that the trade with the REvs is a go, but nothing official yet. The newest report is Burpo, Gibbs, a draft pick, and allocation money for Wells Thompson and the rights to Jeff Larentowicz. Presumably if we're giving up that much we know that we'll be able to sign the latter to a new contract. Until we know all the details its too soon to really evaluate the trade, but I don't think we lose much in Burpo or Gibbs so I like how it looks so far.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Trade Update

Goff had an update on the rumored Gibbs/Burpo - Thompson/Larentowicz trade with the Revs:

New England Revolution was preparing to trade midfielders Jeff Larentowicz and Wells Thompson to the Colorado Rapids for goalkeeper Preston Burpo and defender Cory Gibbs. The latest buzz is that there were issues involving Gibbs' contract as well as a delay until Monday for his medical exam to be performed by the Revs.

At this point I'm fairly confident the trade will get done. The real question is the Rapids signing Larentowicz to a new contract. Reportedly the reason New England wants to move him is that he's asking for more salary in his new contract than New England is willing to pay. He considered moving to Europe but injuries have probably prevented that for now. Last year Larentowicz made $34,000 in the last year of his first contract. now that he's getting looks by Bob Bradley though, he can demand significantly higher than that.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2010 SuperDraft

Colorado is about to go on the clock for their first pick at #22, followed by their second pick at #23. They are reportedly working a deal to swap Cory Gibbs for Jeff Larentowicz from New England. The deal seems to be contingent on the Rapids signing Larentowicz to a new contract. Updates here once the picks are made.
  • At #22 the Rapids take Andre Akpan, forward, from Harvard

  • At #23 the Rapids take Ross LaBauex, midfielder, from Virginia

At #40 the Rapids take Chad Borak, Defender, from Cal State Northridge

Also the rumored trade with the Revs is now rumored to be Cory Gibbs and PReston Burpo for Jeff Larentowicz and Wells Thompson.

With their last pick at #56 (barring a late trade) the Rapids take Chris Cutshaw, Midfielder/Forward, from Bradley

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Home Opener Details Announced

The Rapids sent an email to season ticket holders today announcing that the home opener on April 3rd against Chicago will kickoff at 2pm. That's surprisingly early, but I like the change. It reminds me of the opening day at the Dick in 2007, when we all had a chance after the game to go down to the Bulldog and watch the later games.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

News and Notes 1/12/10

A couple of interesting tidbits from today:
  • Denver made the "final" cut for the U.S.'s bid to host the 2018 or the 2022 World Cup. Countries are submitting one bid for both as FIFA will choose the hosts for both at the same time (one last money grab for the older FIFA board members). 18 cities are in the bid, but only 9-12 will actually be used during a World Cup, so another 6 or so cities will be "cut" if the U.S. wins the bid. The cities I think are most likely to be cut are San Diego, Phoenix, Baltimore, Nashville, and Tampa. The 6th city is a toss up between Kansas City, Atlanta, and Denver IMO. Denver isn't near any of the other cities likely to make the cut and I'm not sure what FIFA will think of the altitude. On the flip side Colorado would be a good training base for teams with the number of complexes around here, and its a good mid-way point for teams that may have to play games on either side of the country.
  • The Rapids will be removing the temporary bleachers from above the stage pad on the North end of DSG Park and replacing them with tiered terraces. The North end will become the new home of the supporters groups (other than Class Vi who will keep their spot in Section 108). This is a great move for everyone involved. It gets more viability for the groups, it gets them away from the "family-friendly" crowds that complain about their antics, and it gets them closer to the team, who enter and exit the field through that section. Honestly I can't figure out why they didn't design The Dick this way from the start.
  • The MLS Superdraft is Thursday. It will be streamed on The Rapids hold two 2nd round picks, along with a 3rd and 4th round pick. A common target for the Rapids in mock drafts is Nick Cardenas, a Colorado native playing at San Diego St. He's a center back though and we already have 7 of those on the roster.
  • The 2010 jersey designs were released by Adidas. There are no real changes to the Rapids jerseys, as expected since this is the 2nd year of the standard 2 year cycle for jerseys. The only noticeable change in the graphic mock-ups in the catalog is that the long-sleeve home jersey replaces the 5280 on the back with a Rapids in a script font and the road jersey doesn't show anything on the back. Since these are just mock-ups and not pictures of the actual jerseys I'm think they are just showing off what other possibilities could be added. I expect we'll see 5280 on the back of all the jerseys this season.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mid-Season Roundup

So, time to get caught up with my other teams. Obviously the Rapids are still in the off season, but my other 4 teams are all int he middle of their seasons.

Queen of the South - Queens is having its best season since the year they won the Second Division and are on course to finish higher in the league pyramid than ever in their history. The lousy weather in the UK has played havoc with their schedules though, they've had 3 games called off in recent weeks. QoS have played 18 of their 36 games and currently sit in a 3-way tie for 2nd in the First Division, due to goal differential they are winning the tiebreaker. Unfortunately they are a full 8 points behind leaders Dundee, but the Doonhamers have 2 games in hand and later this month Dundee will be traveling to Palmerston Park for a top of the table clash. Queens has already beaten and drawn Dundee this season, so there's a real chance that we'll close the gap. QoS has been eliminated from all 3 of their Cup competitions for the season.

Blackburn Rovers - Blackburn has had a better start to this season than last, with the exception of bad losses against the 'Big 4'. At the mid-point of the season (20 of 38 games played) Rovers are 13th, 3 points above the relegation zone. This is better than last year when they spent most of the season in the relegation zone, only to escape at the end. Currently though Blackburn is on a 8 game win less streak in league play, with a game at Man City scheduled for Monday. Over the New Year's weekend the Rovers were eliminated from the FA Cup at the hands of Big Bad Brad Friedel and Aston Villa, but they face them again in the 2-legged semifinal of the League Cup starting on Thursday.

CD Tenerife - Tenerife is having a rough time in their return to the Primera Division. After a strong start to the season, especially at home, they've struggled with only 1 win in their last 8 games. Still they've done enough to still be out of the relegation zone at this time, sitting 17th with a 2 point cushion after 16 of 38 games. There's a big match up tomorrow as Barcelona makes its first trip back tot he Canary Islands since CDT was promoted. The game can be seen on ESPN360,, and I'm really looking forward to it. After that 3 of the next 4 games are against teams int he bottom half of the table, so hopefully they'll be able to get a run going. The Los blanquiazules have been eliminated from the Copa del Ray already

Melbourne Victory - Melbourne are about 2/3rds of the way through the season, with only 7 of their 27 games remaining. They currently sit 2nd. 3 points behind rivals Sydney FC with a game in hand. The final game of the regular season is at Sydney, so this one will probably go down to the wire. There is no Cup competition in Australia yet, just the playoffs for the top 6 teams after the season ends.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Why Melbourne Victory?

As promised, an update to my list of teams that I follow. I've done previous posts about the Colorado Rapids, Queen of the South, Blackburn Rovers, and CD Tenerife. As well as the now defunct Kildare County and my brief following of My FC team Ebbsfleet United. This time we're heading to the land Down Under for the Melbourne Victory of the Australian A-League.

I had a passing interest in the Australian league for its first 3 seasons, mainly due to its similarities with MLS. Its a new league in a country that's been dominated by sports other than soccer. Its fighting a number of the same issues MLS did early in its life, like small crowds in large stadiums, possible over expansion, and trying to get respect on the sporting landscape. Since Rupert Murdoch seems to own all the TV rights to the league we get a game or so a week on Fox Soccer Channel here in the States so it made it easy to peek in on the league and see what was happening.

It wasn't until right before the 2008 MLS season that I really picked a team to follow. One of my other hobbies is strategic board gaming. If anyone has played Settlers of Catan you'll know what kind of games I'm talking about, along with what people think of when they think of wargames. The largest community for that hobby on-line is at BoardGameGeek. As with any large community discussion tends to spread beyond the original reason for the gathering and a forum for soccer fans was created. At one point the moderator of that forum, an Aussie, asked for suggestions of which MLS team he should follow. I suggested the Rapids of course, and my arguments were apparently convincing as he has taken up the burgundy & blue! I would assume he's the lone member of the Australian Rapids Supporters Group. ;)

After he decided to follow the Rapids I decided to follow his A-League team, the Melbourne Victory. They tend to show up on FSC every couple of months (more often than Blackburn lately) so I've gotten to see a handful of games the last couple of seasons. Their level of play is about equal to MLS, though I think the best MLS teams could handle the top of the A-League (which would include the Victory). Over the short 4 year history of the A-League the Victory have won the title twice, and won their version of the Supporter's Shield those same two years. Currently Melbourne are in 2nd place, 3 points behind hated rivals Sydney FC with a game in hand. There are 7 games left for the Victory before the playoffs and it looks like Melbourne will have a shot at being the first repeat champions.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

Yes, I'm still alive. Sorry things went quiet last month. With no Rapids news and working 10 hour days a majority of a time, not to mention the in-laws visiting for the holidays, something had to give. All that is (hopefully) behind me though, so expect to see a more regular posting schedule here. This week I'm hoping to do an update on my overseas teams as well as introduce you to the Melbourne Victory, who I've started following.

There has been one hint of Rapids news this week. Supposedly Conor Casey has agreed a new contract with the Rapids instead of pursuing interest from Germany and Turkey. This is all contingent on the union signing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the league. Terms have not been leaked yet, but I wouldn't be shocked if it was over 300K.

Here's to a 2010 where the Rapids lift at least two cups, the RMC and either MLS Cup or the USOC!