Rapids Prepare to Lose Borchers May Regain Nkong
WESTMINSTER CO (By Jason Halpin MLSnet.com) -While defender Nat Borchers appears to have all but departed the Colorado Rapids midfielder Alain Nkong could be on his way back to Denver head coach Fernando Clavijo said Thursday.
"I think the odds are very good Clavijo said. "(Nkong) wants to get back as simple as that. He wants to come back."
Last season Nkong was a bright spot for the Rapids notching five goals and four assists in 28 games. He was sent off in the second game of Colorado's Western Conference Semifinal Series against FC Dallas earning a suspension for the Western Conference Championship which the Rapids lost to the Los Angeles Galaxy. Clavijo cited Nkong's absence as a key factor in the Rapids' defeat.
After the season the Rapids surprisingly waived Nkong in a budget-related move hoping to be able to sign him at a lower salary. In December Clavijo seemed resigned to the fact that the Cameroonian international would be departing saying he would likely find opportunities to play in Europe.
Recently however Nkong has expressed his desire to return to the Rapids and Clavijo said the club is doing what it can to bring him back into the fold. But budget issues remain a stumbling block Clavijo said.
"I'm confident that I know how talented he is and I know it would be a tremendous addition for us to bring him back he said. "Confidence with the level of salaries we don't know. We're stilling working on some other issues that would give us a more clear picture at the end of the day.
"It's not a matter of us wanting him here. It's a matter of 'How can we get him here?'"
Meanwhile Borchers will officially be on his way to Norwegian club Odd Grenland as soon as his transfer is finalized. Clavijo tried to make it clear that the club did not push the U.S. international out the door.
"I think it was a great situation for Nat and a great story too. Nat played in the Boulder Rapids Reserve remember that Clavijo said. "He's a local kid that went through every single level of soccer here to make it to the pros and to have an opportunity to go to Europe it is tremendous. As a coaching staff we cannot stop him. We cannot be in his way of achieving his dream.
"We're very proud of Nat and we wish him the best."
Clavijo has a large contingent of defenders in the Rapids' preseason camp including capable veterans like Mike Petke and Pablo Mastroeni but would like to ensure depth at the center back position. If he discovers the club's draftees and trialists won't do the trick he said he'll have options on the open market.
"We're not really that desperate you know but definitely we want to have depth in our roster with somebody else there he said. "One of the good things this year was we did pretty good scouting. ... I think right now we have to be extremely open with what we have in camp we have to give a really good look at some of the people to make an impact right now."
Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the Colorado Rapids Major League Soccer or its clubs.