Depth Chart - Goalkeepers
With the players set to report for the start of the 2013 preseason on January 17 - the same day as the MLS SuperDraft - ColoradoRapids.com will be taking a look at the depth chart at each position, based on the formation the team utilized for the last portion of last year.
Matt Pickens established himself as the clear first-choice 'keeper a few years ago and doesn't seem to be letting the reigns loose anytime soon. There are plenty of stats to show why the team's 2012 MVP is one of the first players penciled in to a lineup, and coach Oscar Pareja hasn't been shy on heaping praise on the eight-year MLS veteran. He's stayed fairly healthy, too, missing only three regular season games over the past three seasons (including the final two last year).
Stew Ceus, like Pickens, was signed to a new contract in the recent months, a sign that the coaching staff has confidence in the big Haitian international. Ceus, who during most of his first four years in MLS had mostly played Reserve, Open Cup, and the club's international matches, made his MLS debut last fall when he replaced Pickens in the game agains San Jose. He then started the next two matches, posting shutouts in each. During the offseason the 25-year-old trained with English Premier League side, Sunderland. He's coming in as the #2 'keeper, but has already shown that he can step in when called upon.
The offseason has seen the team pick up wingers, forwards, and defenders, but no goalkeepers - yet. Whether its one of the two MLS drafts or through the discovery process, the team will need to sign another goalkeeper before the season.
Rarely have teams had to rely on their third goalkeepers for regular season games, though it does happen. The Rapids, however, haven't used three goalkeepers in one regular season since 2003. But that doesn't mean the third 'keeper isn't valuable. He'll often have to play in other competitions, he has to push the #2 and even #1 to keep them sharp, and he has to be ready to play or backup nearly every game.