When it comes to off-season signings, I go slightly off the beaten path by asking the Rapids to pick up a 23-year old forward who only scored one goal last year. Huh? Trust me, it makes more sense than it sounds like it does...
Everyone on the Burgundy Wave staff has picked a player or two from inside MLS that they want to see on the Rapids come next season. This week, we'll see their picks.
I have the feeling that this off-season is going to see a lot of movement around MLS. A bunch of teams will be trying to regroup with new or fairly new coaches -- the Rapids are among these teams as they head into the second year of the Pareja administration -- while other, more established teams like Real Salt Lake and perhaps LA Galaxy will be doing some wholesale changes as well.
That being said, I'm focusing my efforts on a player that might not be on the tongues of a lot of people, from a team that is on even fewer tongues. Considering their record this season and the terri-bad numbers that they put up, it's hard to forget that Chivas USA actually picked up some moderately talented players during Robin Frasier's disappointing tenure. (That's what led to the old 'where MLS players go to die' joke.)
I'm not asking to bring in Danny Califf or James Riley, one of the pretty solid and proven players who went from other teams to Chivas. I'm asking to bring in a guy that you've probably never heard of, and a guy who did almost nothing all year long after joining the Goats. It's last year's No. 5 overall draft selection, forward Casey Townsend.
Normally, a team doesn't trade its fifth overall draft pick from the year before, but Townsend didn't seem to be a favorite player of the last regime, getting only 17 appearances all year, only 10 of those being starts. With the team currently between regimes, they might be willing to part with the spare parts from Frasier's era for cheap, or at least for less than they might have given up for him if Frasier was still the manager.
I've been a big fan of Casey's since the MLS Combine where he hung a hattrick on his opposition in one of his games and looked generally fantastic otherwise. There's a reason he went No. 5 in the draft, but I was secretly hoping that he would fall to the Rapids at No. 14 if they weren't going to pick Tony Cascio. (I ended up being happy anyway, of course.)
If you're asking who we could trade, I think that Omar Cummings is probably the biggest bargaining chip that the team has right now. Chivas is a team that desperately needs goal-scorers, and Cummings has the pedigree if not the production in the past two seasons.
Cummings for Townsend probably wouldn't be a good deal on our side, we could get them to throw in something else. Perhaps Cummings and Palguta for Townsend and Rauwshan McKenzie. That might be a bit pie in the sky, but McKenzie would provide far better defensive depth than Palguta. He plays pretty solidly at right back, probably the biggest need on the team's defense right now.
It depends just how much Chivas USA would value Cummings in the end. If they think he's worth two players -- he's not anymore, but I've heard plenty of people over the last two years still think he has his 2010 skills hiding within -- the Rapids could potentially pull a trade like that off.
So to sum up, here's the trade I'm looking to make:
RAPIDS TRADE: Omar Cummings, Scott Palguta
CHIVAS TRADE: Casey Townsend, Rauwshan McKenzie
I have no doubts that on a team with better attack, Townsend would have scored more than the single goal he got this year. Remember, this was a Chivas team that didn't have a single player score more than four goals, even with players like Juan Agudelo and Juan Pablo Angel in the forward positions. If we're looking for more forwards to add to the equation if Conor Casey is going to be gone, adding the 'young attacking DP' we keep hearing about as well as
Humberto Suazo Townsend would give us adequate depth up front for 2013.
Plus, the one goal he scored was a game-winner against Real Salt Lake. That's gotta give him some bonus points.