Last season, much to my chagrin, MLSsoccer.com released their 24 Under 24 series with no Rapids players included. Martín Rivero was the obvious choice; then just 22 years old, the attacking midfielder played 30 matches (all starts), notching eight assists and adding a pair of goals. Many people noticed the snub, and I was shocked when looking at some of the names that beat Rivero to the list.
Rivero was an obvious absence in 2012, and made all the more noticeable since he was pretty much the only Rapids player who would’ve had an argument (Tony Cascio being the other). Unfortunately, Rivero’s injury early in 2013 might keep him out of the list again, but this year, the Rapids are stocked with young players making a big impact for the team. Here’s the full list of Rapids eligible (under the age of 24 by October 27, 2013 – the last day of the regular season):
The criteria for MLSsoccer.com’s 24 Under 24 is pretty broad, but includes five different aspects: technical skill, tactical awareness, physical attributes, personality, and potential (read more here). Based on the play from both the Rapids as a team and the individual players, it seems like several Colorado players should have a strong argument.
- Deshorn Brown, Chris Klute and Dillon Powers (pictured above) are racking up minutes for a team that is unbeaten in six games and 5-1-4 in their last 10.
- In limited action, Martín Rivero has shown flashes of the skill, creativity and potential that made him a breakout star in 2012.
- Danny Mwanga, who was #5 on the 2010 list and #9 in 2011 before dropping off in 2012, could move quickly back into the ranks with a few goals (and amazingly, he’ll still be eligible in 2014).
- Other players like Tony Cascio, Kevin Harbottle and Germán Mera are getting first team action and, with strong play, could turn some heads. Davy Armstrong, Kory Kindle, Brenton Griffiths and Dillon Serna are waiting in the wings for their opportunities.
However, the big name for the Rapids in the 24 Under 24 should be Shane O’Neill. At just 19 years old, he grabbed a first team spot in a new position (central defender) and has proven himself against seasoned pros, cementing his spot with the United States Under-20 National Team. As a defender, he doesn’t get the same type of publicity as some of his peers, but what he has done in 2013 has been impressive.
Recently, I had to argue O’Neill’s 24 Under 24 case to an MLSsoccer.com personality, who thought that he wasn’t as flashy as some others that might make the list. I’ll be sending emails in the next couple weeks (I’m unsure as to when their panel starts voting on this) but we’ll see if other share his opinion.
What do you think? Which Rapids should make the 24 Under 24 list in 2013? And which Rapids player under the age of 24 has stood out the most and / or has the most potential?