The Colorado Rapids went from needing another signing at striker to desperately needing another signing at striker with the sale of Deshorn Brown.
Arguments have been made back and forth about how good Deshorn Brown was or how good Deshorn Brown could eventually be, but we shouldn't talk about Deshorn Brown any more at this point. He's gone to Europe and we're not likely to see him back in burgundy any time soon. Unfortunately for the Rapids, regardless of how good Brown was or wasn't, he was the golden boot winner on the team for two seasons running for a reason: he was the best that we had.
Pablo Mastroeni has seemed to take a shining to the newest striker signing on the Rapids, Dominique Badji. After being picked in the 4th round of the MLS SuperDraft, he apparently found himself a rising star to the point where he started at center forward in Colorado's first match against the Philadelphia Union. In the preseason, I described Badji as 'Deshorn Brown lite'. Minus a bit of Deshorn's speed, plus a bit of extra strength, but the same (or worse!) finishing ability is what we saw out of Badji in the preseason. Tons of missed shots, mediocre passing ability
Guess what we saw in that first match of the season? Though he did act pretty well as a pest in the final third, there was little he did that was worth talking about other than be a large person annoying the center backs. Check out his stats on WhoScored from the match. 9 aerial wins is certainly impressive for a center forward, the first step in some pretty darn good hold-up play. Unfortunately, he was awful in every other sect of his game. A 60% passing completion ratio is mediocre at best and was one of the biggest reasons why the long balls they attempted nearly always died with him. That's also a big reason that the Rapids got very few shots. Badji attempted few dribbles on his own, turned it over quite often and, on the one golden chance that he finally did get in front of goal, he had a missed shot that even Deshorn probably shook his head at.
Badji strikes me as a guy who may turn out to be a hidden gem of the MLS SuperDraft, a guy who could be a pretty damn good starter in MLS in a couple of years. Unfortunately, it's currently 2015, not 2017. As of right now, Badji is not going to be the answer if the team wants to pretend that they're going to be a contender this season. Meanwhile, past him is Gabriel Torres and Vicente Sanchez (both of whom Pablo has clearly shown he prefers playing deeper on the field) and... well, we're kind of running out of options past that.
I hope Kevin Doyle's on the phone ASAP.