Monday, August 23, 2010

The Rapids Need talented Depth

Part of the problem with this season is, like last season, the injury bug biting at inopportune times. It obviously hasn't been as much of a disaster as last season, or as hard-luck as Seattle has been this season etc, but it still hasn't been a walk in the park for the Rapids health-wise this season.

Just off the top of my head, Conor Casey missed several games with a bad head injury. We're still missing out on any possibilities of seeing what former first round pick Ciaren O'Brien can do, him being out all season. Colin Clark has suffered another ACL tear. Even Claudio Lopez was out for a while, not that he would have gotten any playing time anyway.

For some teams injury problems like this don't matter as much because of a wealthy talent pool of depth. Teams like Los Angeles, Chicago and New York can lose a player or two and still go strong. Not so with the Rapids. Here's the three positions that the Rapids are going to need to work on gaining some talented depth in, if not grabbing a couple of starters to eventually or immediately usurp the group of players we're already starting there.

Center Back: I'm not nearly as high on Julien Baudet as the rest of Rapids nation seems to be. I personally think he's a really cool guy and not a terrible third option, but him being our every-week starter in the middle of the defense is unacceptable. Sugar-coat it all you want, but the man has literally handed two goals to the opposition on a silver platter, both of those games eventually winding up 1-1, one of them against a very much weaker team. With an offense as anemic as ours the Rapids can't afford him as the center-back. Drew Moor is great but past him the depth in the middle of the defense is very lacking. Marvell Wynne could probably slide over in case of injury, but we'd still be stuck with Baudet starting.

Striker: Quincy Amarikwa is not a good soccer player. He seems to fall down every time the ball gets near him, he's even worse at finishing than our already questionable other strikers, and he basically can't get by anybody unless he can outrun them. And yet... he was the starter when Conor Casey went down. Andre Akpan is an unknown commodity who doesn't look like someone ready to usurp the spot of Casey or Cummings should either choose to leave. The two strikers we start on a weekly basis aren't great, but the depth behind them is even worse.

Wide Midfielders: The center of the midfield is actually the strongest part of the team, which probably helps the outside midfield look even worse. With Colin Clark out of the picture we're basically stuck with only four players ready on any given day to start on the outside. Mehdi Ballouchy, Wells Thompson, Jamie Smith and Claudio Lopez. Dismissing Lopez because he'll never start a game again, the other three are very lacking in skill. When Wells Thompson is the class of your group, you're probably in trouble. If the Rapids go out looking for another player before the roster freeze, getting a wide midfielder is probably where they'll need to go.

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