KANSAS CITY, KS - JULY 06: Conor Casey #9 of the Colorado Rapids controls the ball as Julio Cesar #55 of Sporting Kansas City defends during the first half the game on July 6, 2011 at LiveStrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
The offseason began for the Colorado Rapids with three target forward options on their bench. Conor Casey was of course still the unquestioned starter in the role, but with his injury problem it looked like Caleb Folan or Macoumba Kandji were going to be the guys to look at for the high striker role in the new 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 formation.
Those two are now both off the team. Folan was almost dealt to Greek side Panionios but the deal was called off last minute and he was instead let go on mutual terms. Kandji is now off the squad as well thanks to a trade with the Houston Dynamo that netted the Rapids a conditional draft pick.
When it comes to putting strikers up high on the flanks, there's plenty of finesse striking options for the Rapids. Omar Cummings has shown he can play that role before, Andre Akpan is a solid and growing talent while even Quincy Amarikwa has started to look decent under Oscar Pareja's new system. For the target forward in the central high role though, the options are now down to one, and that one won't even start the season healthy.
This might signal that we're going to see smaller, faster forwards manning the top spot -- Akpan in particular might be an intriguing candidate to start, and Cummings could try the role as well -- but having a big guy who can bang in the goals is always a good tactic for a team running a style featuring only a lone man up at the top.
Does this mean that the Rapids are now in the market for another target forward? Certainly Kandji and Folan are not irreplaceable and for a price far less than Folan was bringing in there is surely someone that the Rapids could bring in to fill the back-up role adequately.