Here's something that totally hasn't been brought up a bunch since we learned that Matt Pickens was nearly back into training with the Rapids: what on earth do we do when he's healthy and ready to compete for a starting spot?
Of course, there's always a chance that Pickens is able to earn his starting spot back right off the bat, but something makes me doubt that's going to happen with the flaming pace that Irwin has had all season. One of them is probably going to have to leave by the end of
If you ask me, I pick Irwin every day of the week. Irwin might already be just as good a 'keeper as Pickens is, and perhaps might be even better since he's not made quite as many of those trademark softies that Pickens has been known to let in every few games. He looks like he's a 30-year-old veteran but he's only 23, which means he might have 15 or more years of top goalkeeping ahead of him, compared to the 31-year-old Pickens.
I love Matt Pickens as much as anyone on the team, but Clint has convinced me all the way at this point. Pickens also makes a rather absurd amount of money for a potentially back-up goalkeeper, so there's a good chance the team will want to off-load the very expensive option compared to the guy currently making rookie minimum.
Here's the thing, though: I don't know what teams would want Pickens if they were planning on trading him within Major League Soccer. There's not all that many teams that are currently in a goalkeeping crisis in this league. Really, there's only two teams that I can think of that might want him: the LA Galaxy and the Philadelphia Union.
In LA's case, and Matt Doyle actually brought this up yesterday with a #TradeForPickens hashtag, they have a starter in Carlo Cudicini but not one that seems to be paying many dividends. LA has plugged and played several goalkeepers -- Mike Magee totally counts as well -- the past few seasons, but they might not refuse the stability between the sticks that Pickens would provide for a few seasons if he was traded over there.
Philly is a team that is still being patient with Zack MacMath, who they sunk a first-round pick into in the 2011 draft and have been using as their everyday starter since 2012. MacMath has grown in past years, but Philly's biggest period of success in their short history came in the 2011 season when experienced goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon came in and helped lead them to the playoffs. They may feel that Pickens could help in the same way as MacMath continues to learn his trade.
I think that just about every other team in the league either has an already capable young starter or a veteran that probably wouldn't be displaced by Pickens. So, if the Rapids were to send him out within the league, I would guess it would be one of those two squads. Who would you want in return from those teams?