How many people remember former Colorado Rapids defender Kosuke Kimura?
I do. I remember him fondly. I remember the crazy goal he scored in the 2010 Eastern Conference Championship that booked the Rapids trip to MLS Cup in Toronto that year. It was brutal cold and he was the unlikely hero in that match in an overall unlikely playoff run that brought the Rapids their lone championship.
From 2007 to 2012, Kimura played in 117 games for the Rapids scoring four goals. He was traded in 2012 to Portland Timbers and also played for New York Red Bulls before eventually landing with the now defunct Atlanta Silverbacks. Kimura was a fan favorite and was very well loved but when he was traded you would have thought that people were asked to give back their first born. There were threats of people giving up their season tickets and vowing to never come to a Rapids match again.
People were emotionally attached to Kimura. I get it. But here is the thing: Kimura was an average defender who wanted to start and the Rapids felt that they had better options on their team in 2012. And since his trade happened, he has made 85 appearances in professional soccer and has not had the impact he had with the Rapids.
So, in a way, the Rapids traded him at his high point. They got allocation money and an international roster spot for a player that only made 54 additional appearances in Major League Soccer.
Emotionally, Rapids fans were pissed. But rationally, the trade of Kimura made a hell of a lot of sense.
This brings me back to the trade on Monday of Clint Irwin. Irwin was a beloved figure in Commerce City. He came from being a walk-on during the 2013 pre-season to taking over for an injured Matt Pickens to lead the Rapids in that magical playoff season in 2013. Emotionally, I have that attachment to him.
But let's look at what the Rapids got for Irwin:
1) Targeted Allocation Money (not disclosed)
2) A third round selection in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft
3) A conditional first round selection in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft
That is a haul. I know it sucks right now, but that is a great deal. And that targeted allocation money is important as the Rapids look to rebuild.
And here is the thing for me: the Rapids won 8 games in 2014 and 9 games in 2015 and regardless of whether you loved Irwin or not, something had to be done to change this team. You may not say that losing Irwin was the thing that needed to happen, but the fact is the Rapids had to do something. As soon as the decision to bring back Pablo Mastroeni, it was quite clear that the Rapids were going to move players.
And it's not like Zac MacMath is a crappy keeper. He is quite good and is a started in MLS and he can start for the Rapids. And he has made 21 more appearances than Irwin and is two years younger.
But the next moves are critical for the Rapids. They have a very thin backline and they have to improve their defense in terms of quality and depth. They need to improve this squad and they need to do it quickly. So when I take the emotion out of this one, I get the reason for the trade. I don't have to like it.
Emotionally, I am bummed. But realistically, I am OK with it.
But my major concern is whether the Front Office has a plan for the TAM they got for Irwin.
Color me skeptical on that.