With Brian Crookham
This Edition: "All I Want For the Holidays"
Talk about a difficult column to write. I first put a wish list together for the team during the Thanksgiving Holiday. Two modifications have already been made so I’m going to get this out before it is again outdated.
2006 left the Rapids needing a few more pieces in order to make a true run at the MLS Cup. A month ago this is how I saw it:
The absence of an out-and-out goalscorer and uncertainty at wide back positions (64 regular season games without a true starter at right back should qualify as uncertainty) should be priorities. I don’t think the wide back problem can be solved in the draft they need experience here. The depth at center back must be looked at as well.
Also missing was a midfield player who can break down opposing defenses on the dribble. Kyle Beckerman was my choice for team MVP but I don’t think he is a guy that can consistently dictate the rhythm of the attack. He’ll be that much more effective with a really dynamic player around him. A quality left-sided player should be added to the wish list for good measure.
After the events of the last month some of these issues have been addressed.
In my opinion Joe Cannon is the best goalkeeper in Major League Soccer. For the majority of the regular season it didn’t matter because he was rarely in a position to make one or two big saves to win a game. The back four has to be more consistent regardless of who is in goal. The addition of Ugo Ihemelu will certainly improve the athletic ability of the back line. Ihemelu is still young but when paired with a veteran he has the potential to do well. Brandon Prideaux has extensive experience in the league and gives the team a solid option wide.
Herculez Gomez brings a true goalscorer’s mentality to the team. Although he cooled off a little in his sophomore season he is brave in front of the goal something that will make the service from Terry Cooke that much more effective.
There are still options within the roster both young and old that may be able to fill some of the remaining needs. Next month’s draft could bring some help as well.
With all of this said I want "Designated Player" moved to the top of the team’s wish list. If you are going to bring in a marquee player he needs to have the ability to have his name in the media every day. That likely narrows any prospective Rapids designated players down to an out-and-out striker or an attacking midfield player.
Goals and assists get publicity and would complement the fact that the Rapids' current allocation player Pablo Mastroeni is known more on the defensive side of the ball. Conventional wisdom says that potential DPs are going to be subject to the January transfer window so I am willing to wait until after the Holiday Season to have my stocking filled.
Lastly don’t forget the present we will all be able to enjoy in April......Dick’s Sporting Goods Park!
Brian Crookham's "Stoppage Time" column runs exclusively on ColoradoRapids.com. Brian is the Assistant Technical Director for the Colorado State Youth Soccer Association and serves as color commentator for Rapids broadcasts on Altitude TV. Views and opinions expressed in this column are the author's and not necessarily those of the Colorado Rapids or ColoradoRapids.com. Send any questions or comments to Brian at StoppageTime@att.net