89 long and excruciating days.
And so much has happened in that time for the Rapids. Players have left. Players have been brought in. Rumors abound around the club. What does it all mean? Well, for the Rapids it is the hand that they have dealt themselves and it is time to play it.
The Roster (as of 21 January 2016)
GOALKEEPERS: John Berner, Zac MacMath
DEFENDERS: Marc Burch, Bobby Burling, Joseph Greenspan, Marlon Hairston, Axel Sjoberg, Sean St. Ledger, Jared Watts
MIDFIELDERS: Micheal Azira, Sam Cronin, Marco Pappa, Zach Pfeffer, Dillon Powers, Juan Ramirez, Marcelo Sarvas, Dillon Serna
FORWARDS: Dominique Badji, Caleb Calvert, Kevin Doyle, Luis Solignac
DRAFT PICKS: Emmanuel Appiah, Dennis Castillo, Chris Froschauer, Bradley Kamdem, John Manga, Javan Torre
And speaking of folks in camp, there will always be the players on trial trying to make the team. Like this:
The Preseason Friendly Schedule
Saturday, 13 February 2016--at Sacramento Republic FC--Sacramento, California--6:00 PM MST
Wednesday, 17 February 2016--vs Swope Park Rangers--Tucson, Arizona--5:30 PM MST
Saturday, 20 February 2016--vs Houston Dynamo--Tucson, Arizona--7:00 PM MST
Wednesday, 24 February 2016--vs Sporting Kansas City--Tucson, Arizona--8:00 PM MST
Saturday, 27 February 2016--Match Time and Opponent TBD
What to Watch For
1) So Important--It is not an understatement to talk about how important this preseason is for the Rapids and for Gaffer Pablo Mastroeni. They have to get this one right and have to be ready to go when the season kicks off on March 6 at San Jose Earthquakes. If they Rapids have a terrible preseason and stumble, it could have a very detrimental impact.
2) The Captain--Last season the follow players wore the armband: Burling, Cronin, Doyle, Drew Moor, Sarvas (did I miss anyone?) With Moor departing to Toronto FC (along with Clint Irwin who was a leader on this team) there is a void and a good question as to who should be Captain. My early bet is on Doyle, but don't quote me on that.
3) More Arrivals--The Rapids have been linked to a number of players this off-season and while some of them were rumors made from fancy, it is no secret that the Rapids WILL need reinforcements. Right now they look like a last place team in the Western Conference and if they have any shot of not finishing in last, they will need quality players to help this squad.
4) A Guess at a Starting XI--This is only for today and this absolutely will change going forward, but if I had to put a XI out there now, here it is (this is based on Pablo's favored 4-2-3-1):
How to Watch
Burgundy Wave will be providing coverage of all pre-season matches and signings that might take place throughout the buildup to First Kick in early March. I will personally be at the Sacramento Republic FC match and all Desert Diamond Cup matches should be streamed at mlssoccer.com.