The 2021 Colorado Rapids somehow finished first in the West on Decision Day. After finishing on 61 points, one ahead of Seattle and three ahead of Sporting Kansas City, the Rapids earned a first round playoff bye. However, their season ended abruptly on Thanksgiving with a 1-0 loss to the Portland Timbers.
So heading into 2022, what do the Rapids look like?
Colorado added Brazilian midfielder Max Alves from Flamengo as a U-22 initiative player. Alves is an attacking midfielder valued at $350,000.
Additionally, the Rapids added former FC Dallas designated player, Bryan Acosta, through the re-entry draft process. In his three years in MLS, Acosta has two goals and five assists in 4,400 minutes.
Finally, Colorado added defender, Aboubacar Keita, from Columbus Crew for $450,000 in GAM.
Perhaps more interestingly, Colorado has seen a number of key departures this offseason. After a very public separation, the Rapids traded US International, Kellyn Acosta, to LAFC for at least $1.1 million in GAM (another $400,000 is available in incentives). Acosta was a key piece of the Rapids’ midfield and his departure will be noticed.
Designated Player, Younes Namli, had his option declined and has returned to Russia. Colorado currently have no designated players on their roster.
Midfielder and recent US International, Cole Bassett, was loaned to Feyenoord in the Dutch Eredivisie and his fellow homegrown player, Sam Vines, was transferred to Royal Antwerp in Belgium for a seven figure fee.
Starting centerback, Auston Trusty, was transferred to Arsenal in the English Premier League but was loaned back to the Rapids until July 17, 2022.
Finally, forward Dom Badji signed with FC Cincinnati as a free agent. He’ll take his five goals (three match winners) to Cincy.
While not a departure, midfielder Braian Galvan, tore his ACL and is expected to be out for the entire regular season and likely most of the playoffs.
These departures all represent a substantial loss. The players listed above played approximately 8,500 minutes. Trusty, Bassett, and Acosta were all starters. Vines left midway through 2021 but was a highly touted prospect. Badji brought pace and a handful of goals off of the bench.
Colorado, like Sporting Kansas City, insists their roster build is not complete. As things stand, it is hard to see how they’ll replace the lost production of their outgoing players. The Rapids scored 51 goals in 2021. The departed players accounted for 16 of those goals and 10 assists. Acosta’s departure is a real black eye for the club and could potentially affect player recruitment in the future. He was a standout in a strong midfield, with Jack Price and Mark-Anthony Kaye, and he leaves big shoes to fill.
I won’t give a points prediction because I don’t math that strongly. But looking at the rest of the West, it’s hard to envision the Rapids finishing above Seattle, LAFC, or Kansas City, let alone some of the other teams who have taken big swings this offseason.
What do you think? Where do our neighbors to the west finish this year? Home playoff game? Road playoff game? Outside looking in? Too high to know where the field is?