March 10, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rapids forward Andrew Akpan (19) controls the ball during the second half against the Columbus Crew at the Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
There was a bit of concern from Colorado Rapids fans before the season started after they took a look at all of their target forwards and tossed them - sans Conor Casey - out the window. Not that Caleb Folan and Macoumba Kandji were lighting the lamps or anything, but it was nice having them around during times of injury.
Folan is now with Birmingham in the English Championship (step down, if you ask me) and Kandji is with Houston, which left the Rapids once deep strike force looking a bit shaky come the start of the year. Especially with Casey out, it looked like a three man show with Omar Cummings, Quincy Amarikwa and Andre Akpan the only 'real' strikers on the team.
Four weeks into the season, it looks like we needn't have worried.
The first revelation was watching Amarikwa rip it up against Columbus, proving the pre-season rumors true that said he had matured into an actual striker rather than a random dude with cool hair that enjoyed bicycle kicks. Getting Amarikwa to actually become useful made us think that not having Casey back so soon wouldn't be so bad after all. Omar Cummings looks to be closer to 2010 form as well, a good thing for the guy who should by any accounts lead the team in goals.
The real goodness has come from the additions. Technically the team has had a net of -1 strikers this season with two leaving and Kamani Hill being the only pick up. Fortunately for us, Tony Cascio - a winger by trade - has shown that he can become a brilliant MLS striker in his own regard along with providing wing play. Hill's goal was nice, but Cascio's quick maturation is even nicer.
Here's the run down of the guys that Colorado have to play striker right now - and I literally mean 'striker', not the winger/striker hybrid thing that Pareja uses on the high wings utilizing guys like Brian Mullan:
* Conor Casey
* Omar Cummings
* Tony Cascio
* Quincy Amarikwa
* Andre Akpan
* Kamani Hill
Last year I was fond of boasting that the Rapids were 'six deep' at striker which gave them one of the best strike forces in the league. (Of course, I tempted fate by saying that and injuries blew them out of the water so I'll step with caution here.) This year's group might be even better, every guy on there has the ability to be an MLS top scorer with enough play time. Comparing the two guys who left (Folan, Kandji) with the two guys who were brought in (Cascio, Hill) it's a wash. Heck, Cascio and Hill both have more goals in league play already than Kandji scored in his entire Rapids career. Especially with Martin Rivero now providing the service to the guys up in the box, we could be in for a year dotted with tons of goals.
Nobody would complain about a year filled with mountains of goals, I presume.