Rapids’ Preseason Trip to the Islands
This week the Rapids preseason takes them on an adventure to an island far away, one filled with wonderful beaches and beautiful people. The Rapids will play in this season’s Hawaiian Islands Invitational, with teams from four different countries. The club will face the Japanese side Yokahama FC on Thursday for the first match of the tournament. The club will then play either Melbourne (Australia) or Busan (S. Korea) on Saturday, February 25th. You can watch both of those matches on ESPN3.
The club left several players back in Colorado so they can get treatment on their injuries: Jaime Smith, Anthony Wallace, Hunter Freeman, and Conor Casey. Club officials released a roster card of the following players:
Goalkeepers: Matt Pickens, Stew Ceus, Ian Joyce, Joel Helmick
Defenders: Drew Moor, Eddie Ababio, Tyrone Marshall, Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Scott Palguta, Luis Zapata, George Brislen-Hall
Midfielders: Wells Thompson, Davy Armstrong, Tony Cascio, Jaime Castrillon, Steven Emory, Ross LaBauex, Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, Brian Mullan, Joseph Nane, Kohei Yamada, Martin Rivero, Dillon Serna
Forwards: Omar Cummings, Andre Akpan, Quincy Amarikwa, Josh Janniere
Some interesting names are on the list as we approach another cut date. We see an Arsenal youth player George Brislen-Hall training with the club, and youngsters Dillon Serna and Davy Armstrong are making the trip. Notably the Rapids look thin up front listing only four strikers, while the midfield has more than enough competition. The newly acquired center attacking midfielder and young play making Argentinean Martin Rivero will join the team possibly as early as Tuesday.
The team’s depth chart is impressive at some positions, but depth doesn’t always mean quality. The Rapids will need to produce goals up top and without Conor Casey, can Pareja’s 4-3-3 formation magically turn our midfielders not known for goal scoring in the past into goal scorers? Time will tell, but adding Castrillon and Rivero is a good start.
Hopefully Omar can get his form started early, that way his abysmal season last year can be quickly forgotten. It will be interesting to see who the Rapids plan on keeping in this new style, hopefully keeping intact a MLS Cup ’10 winning XI with minimal changes and the few additions they have made-keep them primed to compete in the top half of the very strong Western Conference.