Colorado Should Focus Big Money On Defense, Not Offense

Ned Dishman

The Colorado Rapids want to sign a big name attacking player with their cash. I'd rather they focus on the defense with the big money.

Paul Bravo has made it clear earlier that he is planning on looking for a Designated Player on the attacking side of the ball this off season. It might not be Burgundy Wave's favorite Chilean Humberto Suazo, they also said that they want to find someone either young or in their prime, and Suazo is just past his prime. (Heck, him being just out of his prime and coming out of an injury plagued season is the reason why I think he might be a possible candidate to come here!)

Either way, they're looking for a goal-scoring threat to anchor the top line. It makes sense that they would want to get a big name on there, with Omar Cummings and Conor Casey suddenly looking like anything but the best striker duo in the league this year. And, of course, a midfielder leading the team in goals for the second straight season. (I think that's a bit misleading, since Jaime Castrillon was essentially playing as a forward half the time he was on the field even though he was technically a midfielder.)

I'm of the opinion that leaving the offense alone, minus one or two signings of course, will work out better than leaving the offense alone. Martin Rivero should get better next year, Tony Cascio and Andre Akpan have the potential to get lots of goals if they start getting big minutes, and maybe Conor Casey might even come back uninjured for less money. Every part of the team needs assistance, but if the team is going to slash the cash around, I think they should do it on the defensive side of the ball.

As bad as the offense was this year, they still managed to score 44 goals, which should be enough for a team with a solid defense to get by. That number ties the highest number of goals ever scored by a Gary Smith team, but his teams always came out with positive goal differentials because of a solid defense.

It's the old saying: "Offense wins games, but defense wins championships." Wanting a team that scores 50+ goals a season is a perfectly fine thing to want, but if the team is going to give up 50+ defensively as well, they're going to turn into cardiac kids like the Earthquakes were this season. (An Earthquakes team, by the way, who failed in the MLS playoffs because they couldn't find that attacking magic for one game while giving up three goals.)

There are more needs on the defense than the offense, as well. Unless you really think that Chris Klute is going to turn into the next Eddie Pope (thanks Wynalda!), the fullback positions are lacking in any defensive mettle. Behind Moor and Wynne at centerback, there's not much, and without Pablo Mastroeni in front of him Wynne has looked pretty mediocre, as well. The team really could use a solid defensive right back and another star center back over the off season, and I would not complain at all if a DP slot was used on a fantastic CB instead of a forward.

The team will have a bit more money available with Caleb Folan's salary off of the books this year and Conor Casey either getting a salary cut or just being removed all together. That means that there will be room for three or four signings, one of them possibly even a DP. If that DP goes to a forward, I won't complain -- having a consistent goal-scorer is something we've lacked since 2010 and would make it much easier to predict who will score every week.

That being said, if I had to pick, I would be much happier seeing a $500,000 center back in that back line keeping the goals out than someone up front trying to bang them in.

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