New players, especially younger ones that haven't yet had the chance to build a big reputation in the league, can be a mystery sometimes. That in mind, Colorado Rapids fans might not know a whole lot about Carlos Alvarez, who was brought in for Nathan Sturgis in a trade with Chivas USA a few days back. Fortunately, we know some good people around here, and Alicia from The Goat Parade was kind enough to give us the dish on our newest midfielder. Her notes on Alvarez are below.
Carlos Alvarez emerged from his rookie season with Chivas USA to positive reviews. A pretty good player on a horrible team last year, it seemed like he had plenty of room to grow and would be a building block for this team. But in the end, it didn't turn out that way, as he slid down the pecking order under new coach Wilmer Cabrera, and hadn't had as good of a start to his second season.
Alvarez is primarily a central attacking midfielder. He can defend through the middle, I wouldn't really say he's a d-mid, though he mostly played as something like one this season with Chivas. His strength is on the other side of the ball, building up play, sometimes alternating out wide and sending in crosses, sometimes calling his own number near the edge of the box and taking shots himself. He also has shown some capacity to set up goals off free kicks, but was never given full-time set piece responsibilities, which was kind of odd.
His biggest drawback is that he's kind of a hot head, and picks up stupid yellow cards a lot. I can imagine that may have helped sour Cabrera's opinion of him, at least a bit.
There's also persistent questions about his ceiling. A couple of regimes ago, Chelis was claiming Alvarez would be playing for Chivas de Guadalajara within a year or two. Putting aside that team's struggles, questions remain about his true level as a pro. Can he blossom into a key starter, a playmaker who can be the linchpin for an attack? Will he show streaks of real promise, but lack consistency? Is he actually just a squad player? Being stuck on a bad team for two years and playing out of his apparent role has dimmed the enthusiasm over time, but that doesn't mean he can't come good.