COMMERCE CITY, CO - MAY 29 : Conor Casey #9 of the Colorado Rapids pushes the ball upfield while being chased by Jeff Parke #31 of the Seattle Sounders FC during the first half at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on May 29, 2010 in Commerce City, Colorado. The Colorado Rapids won the game 1-0 on a goal by Casey in the second half. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)
The rebuild in the midfield currently is going absolutely swimmingly for the Colorado Rapids. The signing of Columbian Jamie Castrillon is through as planned, and the Rapids have added three new strong attackers to their ranks after picking up Tony Cascio and Kohei Yamada in the MLS Superdraft and Supplemental draft. After losing Danny Earls and Miguel Comminges by not picking up their options they bolstered the defense with Hunter Freeman, but there's still some needs in the back. The one position besides goalkeeper that the Rapids would seem to be fine at is striker.
As of right now the Rapids are quite deep in striker depth, with five of them boasting the ability to start for the club on at least a somewhat regular basis. (Conor Casey, Omar Cummings, Andre Akpan, Caleb Folan, Macoumba Kandji.) Quincy Amarikwa is the odd man out of that, but even he's good for a goal every year or two and isn't a completely terrible guy to have as a really deep player off the bench. If there's a position that the Rapids are set at, it's striker. Even so, new regimes tend to introduce new philosophies and new players. Oscar Pareja was quite used to playing a 4-5-1 formation at FC Dallas so I've still a sneaking suspicion that we're going to see some of that in Colorado this season. (That 4-5-1 was of the 4-2-3-1 variety, offhand.)
So the question is, do the Rapids need to make any movements at the striker position in either direction? Finding someone more skilled than Folan or Kandji wouldn't be too hard for the manager if he put his mind to it and had some financial support from the high ups in the front office. And on the other hand, Pareja possibly playing a 4-5-1 would render having so many strikers unneeded and leave at least one of them open to being traded.
In my eyes there are only two untouchable strikers currently on the Rapids roster, Conor Casey and Omar Cummings. The two of them have proven before that together they're unstoppable atop the Rapids and Conor might just be the best target forward in the league when it comes to settling the ball in the box and banging it home along with sitting at the near post for flick-on headers. Cummings played some pretty good play on the wing as well at times in 2010 so he could easily be a wide man for a 4-2-3-1 formation or something similar. If Pareja goes with a 4-4-2 lineup, you know they will be the two on top if they are both healthy.
Past that, there might be some trade value in young Andre Akpan - though I would personally be completely against the idea since I feel he has the potential to be better than Cummings in the long run - and maybe even Macoumba Kandji. Caleb Folan appears to be entrenched here and it's unlikely that anyone would take a flyer on him trade-wise but the Rapids could easily clear some salary by dropping him, whether or not his play was slated to improve in 2012.
Pareja is here to take the club back to glory as quickly as possible and it might not be in his best interests to keep Folan around unless he knows the big guy can deliver immediate results. Amarikwa isn't likely to stick around regardless but the Rapids were stupid enough to give San Jose a 2nd round pick for him so maybe there's another team out there that's desperate for striker help. Looking at you, Montreal!
The Rapids currently have a 'big two' at striker with Casey/Cummings, it'll be up to Oscar whether or not he wants to make it three by either giving Akpan plenty of playing time so his growth can continue or just pick up a solid attacker from elsewhere to slot past one of the lower level men on the depth chart. Even if he doesn't, the Rapids have a very envious problem right now up front.