The Colorado Rapids announced that the club added a promising trio of incoming players to the roster as the MLS Primary Transfer Window closed late Tuesday night.
Among the additions were 21-year-old US national team forward Jonathan Lewis from NYCFC, 24-year-old defender Lalas Aububakar from Columbus Crew SC and 22-year-old Abdul Rwatubyaye from Sporting Kansas. All three will add pace, physicality and youth to a Rapids side looking to flip the script on early season struggles.
"You want to make sure you are evolving the team and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Not only in the short term, but the long term as well,” said Rapids Executive Vice President & General Manager, Pádraig Smith on Wednesday morning.
Of the three players, the key move is the addition of Lewis. The Atlanta, Georgia native is regarded as a rising star in MLS and he opened eyes this spring after breakout performances with the USMNT.
Matt Doyle of MLSSoccer.com recapped the deadline day moves for the Rapids and noted that Lewis has scored three goals and five assist in 775 MLS minutes. That means he's been impactful when given the chance to play.
"He ticks all the boxes for the type of team we want to be and the type of players we want to have here," said Smith. "The fact he's already featured with the men’s national team shows how highly regard he is US soccer. He is someone who fits in very clearly in what we are trying to do here."
Smith admitted that Lewis was on the radar of his staff for some time, and when the deal for the forward arose earlier this week there was no hesitation from his side. The fact that the Lewis is now in Colorado earlier than anticipated is positive and signals another important addition to an already young and very talented core which currently sees 19 players under the age of 25.
"I feel like there is something being build here," Lewis told local media on Wednesday. "I am just excited to get started. Getting a chance to get in games, helping the team and feeling valued is a big confidence booster. Now, I just want to show what I can do and help the team in the best way that I can."
Lewis arrived in Colorado on Wednesday and should be available for selection in the derby match against RSL on Saturday night. Might we see the new #11 play a role in the drama of the first chapter of the 2019 Rocky Mountain Cup? You'll have to tune in to find out.