We're in a new era of Colorado Rapids football, guys. It's an exciting era, with a proven depth builder in Oscar Pareja as our new manager. It shouldn't be expected that the Rapids will buy 20 new players over the offseason transfer window but we can at least hope that some of the lower levels of our torrid depth will be carved off.
That's good news for this team - Hunter Freeman was a fantastic depth signing and a great start to rebuilding the reserves - but bad news for these for hopefully soon 'former' Rapids.Quincy Amarikwa - OK, fine. The guy has 'hustle', whatever the hell that means. He even managed to score a pretty cool looking goal against Chivas USA last season, chipping over the diving keeper as he ran toward goal. The majority of the facts about his play remain out of his favor though. Quincy can't settle a ball to save his life. He doesn't shoot the ball, preferring to try finesse moves like bicycle kicks. He's a hot-head who got a yellow and red card for arguing with the referees last season.
Quincy was given all sorts of chances to make a name for himself with Colorado since the San Jose Earthquakes traded him over here for our 2012 2nd round draft pick. Quincy had 28 appearances on the first team for the Rapids in the last two seasons and scored a grand total of two goals. Stretch that out to his full career and you're up to a pathetic 53 appearances with only three goals. And one of those three was a tap-in into the most wide open net possible in a 4-1 win. The Rapids depth chart of striker currently lists Conor Casey, Omar Cummings, Caleb Folan, Macoumba Kandji and Andre Akpan over Quincy. Scott Palguta scored more goals than Amarikwa did this year... in fewer appearances!
Need I continue? The striker corps are 5 strong right now and there is no need for Quincy to be wasting a roster spot.
Joseph Nane - One of the reasons that the Real Salt Lake teams of the past few years have been considered so amazing in terms of depth is not because they clearly had 20 guys who could start for any MLS team anywhere, but because they had 20 guys who were perhaps not #1 caliber MLS players but would be overall a positive influence on your team when they hit the field. The biggest problem with the Rapids depth is that it has been chock full of guys who hurt the team by going onto the field rather than providing even a neutral level of play for the squad. Nane was one of the biggest offenders last season.
Picked up from Toronto after a lackluster career up till that point, Nane was supposed to be the answer to the biggest depth hole on the team - defensive midfielder depth past Pablo Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz. He instead spent the season digging that hole even deeper than it was before while at the same time taking playtime away from the a still-growing Ross LaBauex. This was another one of those 'my guys' situations that Gary Smith seemed to get himself into; you'll notice that all four of these players were 'Gary Smith's' guys who got playing time seemingly regardless of form. Nane was signed for almost nothing and played like it - if WAR were a footballing stat, he would have one of the lowest ones on the team. Especially under a new, more offense oriented system I can see no use for Joseph Nane on the Colorado Rapids.
Danny Earls - Danny Earls is still a pretty sad case. After Gary picked him up from the Rochester Rhinos before the 2010 season, he was instantly slotted into the left back spot on the team. He started off playing mediocre to good football in his position, which was good enough to make him the best left back the team had seen in many years. Unfortunately, a couple of absolutely brutal games later in the season found him quickly shoved down below new addition Anthony Wallace on the depth chart, which destroyed his confidence and for some reason ended all traces of his decent play from before.
After getting traded to Seattle and immediately dropped from them, the Rapids picked him up again right before the season and barely played him in 2011. His few appearances were uninspiring and there were no glimpses of good play like there were in 2010. Bulldog Ben concocted a theory earlier last year that perhaps Earls could have a future in the league as an attacking winger because of his decent service and mediocre ability to shoot, but I can't imagine that he'll stick around anywhere even in that regard as this league continues to grow.
Earls is probably the most likely guy on this list to stick around because he's still so young and there is new management to perhaps build him back into the decent player he was in 2010. I'm not quite as convinced but at the very least there's some hope in the kid.
Scott Palguta - Scott Palguta has a very intriguing backstory, but unfortunately it hasn't been one with a happy ending in the highest levels of US Soccer. Palguta was fantastic in college and fantastic in USL and NASL stints so it wasn't surprising that the Rapids picked him up hoping he would be fantastic in Major League Soccer as well. Unfortunately, he still hasn't taken the transition well even as he's hit what should be the prime years of his career. Palguta has played both center back and left back for the club, and has almost never played those positions well. The problem is, most of the time he's spent with the Rapids he has been the default 2nd best player at LB which has given him way more appearances (48?!) than he has deserved.
Palguta is probably the easiest example to point to when talking about how bad the Rapids depth has been the past couple of years. His defense has always been lackluster and his passing has been even worse. Sure, he's scored two goals for the club but was directly responsible for the opposing team scoring a goal in both of those games. He's the epitome of the 'player who drops the level of play on your team when he hits the pitch'.
That's why signing Hunter Freeman was such a great pick up for Colorado. Scott is now FOURTH on the depth chart at left back. And that should spell his end in Colorado. I'm sure the Minnesota Stars could find plenty of use for his NASL-fabulous skills.