Burgundy Wave is committed to doing our best to bring you the most relevant information about the club we all love, our Colorado Rapids. In addition to covering the Rapids, we also want to cover our USL affiliate as much as we can,the Charlotte Independence. The Independence don't kick off for the 2015 season until March 27 when they take on Charleston Battery at 5:30 PM MDT in Charlotte. At that point we will be recapping their matches and any other big news or topics out of Charlotte.
For the first 'OneClub Review' we ask the question: who could be sent on loan to our affiliate?
It is a simple question, but one that does not necessarily have an easy answer. So for me I will try and break down my top 3 (or 4) candidates that might find themselves playing with the Independence.
1) Caleb Calvert--The 18 year old forward seems to be a leading candidate for time with Charlotte. He is fast and has a cannon for a shot and in practices looked good for the Rapids. But at the end of the day he is low enough on the depth chart that he will probably not see meaningful minutes for the club (at this point). And if the Rapids are looking at playing Calvert one of two things will have happened: the Rapids have suffered some sort of catastrophic injury problem at forward or the current crop of guys in front of him absolutely stink and find themselves in desperation mode. I really like Calvert, but he is a guy that needs playing time to develop and he can get that in Charlotte.
2) John Berner--In my opinion I feel as if Clint Irwin and Zac MacMath are ahead of Berner on the depth chart, whether or not this has explicitly been said by Pablo Mastroeni. Irwin was spectacular on Saturday in the season opener and MacMath has over 100 starts in MLS at the young age of 23. The odds are that Berner will not see significant time this year and if the opportunity to get him minutes in Charlotte, it should be done. Charlotte will get a solid keeper that has started games in MLS and Berner will get a chance to play regularly. And in event that an injury occurs to the Rapids #1 and #2 keeper, Berner could be recalled.
3) Marlon Hairston and Charles Eloundou--This may be a bit controversial, especially since Hairston played almost 1,000 minutes in 2014 and the effort involved to bring Eloundou to the Rapids. But when I look at the roster and the depth chart, I am not sure either Lad plays that much with the first team. If you look at the midfield position (as Hairston is listed) you could legitimately say there are 7 guys in front of him. This is not saying that Hairston cannot play in MLS--he absolutely can--but what is better, having him ride the pine or play regularly in Charlotte? As for Eloundou, the guy is wicked, wicked fast, and he showed flashes in 2014, but he needs to play. You have to think that Gabriel Torres, Vicente Sanchez, Deshorn Brown and Dom Badji are in front of him right now on the depth chart. Plus with his delay in getting back to the United States, he could use time in Charlotte getting fit.
Obviously, this is all guess work at this point, but the theory of having an affiliate is that players that may not be in the 18 often can get games so that they are more prepared to play when called upon. There were many instances last year where guys looked 'poor' out there and you wonder if they could have gotten more consistent play if that would have happened.
So what do you think Rapids fans? Who could/should spend time with the Independence this year? Hit us up in the comment section below!