Remember when Colorado did the super-roster shuffle last year and dropped a sack of players into the proverbial shredder the second the season ended? The Vancouver Whitecaps were the team to do that this off-season, finishing off the Martin Renne era with a huge roster purge that saw a couple of intriguing names tossed out of British Columbia. One of the names that stuck out to me was one Daigo Kobayashi.
Kobayashi was not the most productive of players in 2013 in his first year of MLS duty, snagging two goals and four assists in 30 appearances for the 7th place Whitecaps. He was the quietly solid type throughout the year though, and I feel that part of the reason he failed to do more is because he was on a team that was built around getting the ball to Camilo more than anything else.
I think that Daigo is just the kind of player that the Rapids would be smart to pick up. You all know that I'm of the opinion that the Rapids must find improvements in the attacking third next year, specifically with the wing-strikers. When you get past the core group of Deshorn Brown, Gabriel Torres, Vicente Sanchez and Dillon Powers, the depth starts to drop in quality, and fast. Nick Labrocca played both on the wing and at the top of the midfield and was ineffective. Atiba Harris had a run of three or four decent performances, but quickly turned back into Atiba Harris after that. Deeper on the bench, you have names like Danny Mwanga and Tony Cascio, young guys who we don't know if we'll be able to trust to get it done next year.
Kobayashi is experienced, steady, smart with the ball at his feet and I would rather have him as the first attacking option off the bench than any of those other guys at the moment. He can play on the wing or as an attacking central presence, which would guarantee him minutes since he'd be the man called when one of the wing-strikers or Dillon Powers went down. He also won't have to wait until the Re-Entry draft to get picked up, since he doesn't fit the requirements. The Rapids could get him off of waivers if they so desired.
The biggest sticking point with him is his salary. He's currently making $225,000 a season, though he could be negotiated down if the Rapids end up picking him up. If not, another of the forward corps that we mentioned earlier could be jettisoned in favor of him, or he could just join Harris and Edson Buddle on the 'slightly overpaid' wagon. The more, the merrier.
The fact that he used to play for my favorite J-League club is merely icing on the proverbial cake. I think I've used the word 'proverbial' more in this post than I have in the last 1,000 combined on this site.