With the acquisition of Vicente Sanchez earlier this week, the imminent signing of Gabriel Torres, and the return of Martin Rivero (sooner rather than later hopefully), the Rapids will have many options for their lineup over the final 10 games of the season. The 18 players that are on the game day roster includes 2 keepers, 5-6 defenders, 5-6 midfielders, and 3-4 forwards.
It is pretty much assured, baring injury at least, that Matt Pickens and Clint Irwin are the two keepers for every game the rest of the way. There really is no surprise here. Irwin has been huge this year for the Rapids and Pickens was considered one of the top keepers in MLS before the years started.
Three out of the four defensive starting positions are set. Drew Moor, Shane O'neill, and Chris Klute have al solidified their roles. The only toss ups are Marvell Wynne, German Mera, and Brian Mullan (once he returns from knee soreness). All three bring different aspects to the Rapids both defensively and offensively. Mullan is the best option at right back, especially considering that Oscar Pareja likes for his wing backs to attack up the side. Of the players on the field he is the best at doing that. German Mera's best attributes are his physicality in the middle and presence in the air; both are something that O'neill does not quite have right now. Marvell brings great speed and some good throw ins to the Rapids games as well. With those three players all as options for the 4th starter and backups the Rapids are pretty set at defense.
Midfield is another story, and that story depends on the formation that the Rapids and Pareja are looking to implement. If they go with the 4-2-3-1 that they have been using that would give the Rapids 5 starters at Mid (granted two of those positions have been taken by forwards). If they go with a 4-3-3 formation there would be 5 Midfielders total between starters and bench. It can pretty much be said that Nathan Sturgis and Hendry Thomas will be starting no matter what formation Pareja decides to use. The biggest question is what happens when Martin Rivero comes back from injury? Does Dillon Powers sit, or does Rivero get moved to an outside striker?
In terms of the forwards the Rapids have a ton of options. Regular starters Deshorn Brown, Edson Buddle and Atiba Harris now have some true competition for their starting spots. With Sanchez and possibly Torres the Rapids will have the opportunity to sit any of Brown, Harris, or Buddle. The Biggest things that this means for the Rapids is that they can now stop using Danny Mwanga, Tony Cascio, and Kamani Hill as subs. Jaime Castrillon will still most likely get time now and then, but his overall playing time will most likely diminish as well.
All of the options will most likely be gone through over the next couple of months as the Rapids continue their playoff push. If Torres does indeed sign with Colorado, what would your ideal starting XI be? Who would you have as your six available subs?