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Rapids swap Powers to Orlando City for Luis Gil

A deadline deal for the Rapids swapping a pair of MLS back-ups.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-OKC Energy at Colorado Rapids Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rapids traded Dillon Powers to Orlando City in exchange for midfielder Luis Gil at the transfer deadline. The move has been confirmed by Rapids General Manager Padraig Smith. As part of the deal, Colorado also received $100,000 in TAM as well from Orlando City. Gil had been on loan to Orlando City from Mexican side Queretaro.

The deal closes what was a productive yet ultimately unfulfilled career for Powers with the Rapids. Drafted with the 11th pick of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, Powers went on to win MLS Rookie of the Year in his first season, with 5 goals and 6 assists for manager Oscar Pareja. Powers had 5 goals, 9 assists in 2014, but the Rapids had a poor season with him at the helm, finishing 8-8-18 (WTL). Subsequent seasons yielded similar, unspectacular results, as Powers came to be known as an effective passer through the midfield, but lacked the foot speed or defensive skill and aggression to do all the things that would make him an indispensable cog for the Rapids. This season, Dillon had only started 11 of Colorado’s 21 matches, as the acquisitions of Mohammed Saied, Joshua Gatt, and Bismark Adjei-Boateng and the shift to a 4-4-2 formation pushed Powers down the pecking order.

The 23 year-old Gil was drafted by the Kansas City Wizards in 2010 and swapped immediately to Real Salt Lake, playing with them until 2015. In that time, Gil played 151 matches and tallied 11 goals and 9 assists, primarily as a winger or a shuttler in the 4-4-2 diamond. Gil left at the end of 2015 for a free transfer to Liga MX team Queretaro, but saw the field only 10 times in2016 with them. This season he was on loan to Orlando City when he had 597 minutes of play between 6 starts and 11 substitute appearances.

In a Rapids press release, GM Padraig Smith said “For the past five years, Dillon has played an important role in the development of our Club, both on and off-the-field. His service will not be forgotten and on behalf of everyone here at the club, we wish him nothing but the best as he begins this new chapter of his career.” Regarding Luis Gil, Padraig said, “We are very excited to welcome Luis to the Club. We’re pleased to be able to bring in a creative, forward-thinking midfielder like Luis who can integrate quickly and add depth to our attacking group.”

Gil is earning $144,000 for this season, while Powers’ salary is $325,000. Powers had been the Rapids longest-tenured player, and the last man to remember the Oscar Pareja era. Rapids troika of Dillon Serna, Marlon Hairston, and Jared Watts are now the teams longest-serving players. They were added to the roster in January 2014.

The deal can be seen several ways. With neither player finding success with their current club, the move could be perceived as representing a fresh start for both Gil and Powers. Orlando and Colorado might both hope that a different team will bring different luck for each player. Another way to look at the trade is as a short-term trial for each player. Gil’s loan is set to expire at the end of the season, but could certainly be extended if both parties agree. Queretaro’s contract with Gil has locked up through 2018. Powers’ situation is a more murky - the Rapids resigned him in 2014 to an undisclosed ‘multi-year deal’. If the deal was for 3 years, it was set to expire at the end of this season, and thus a deal to Orlando is just an opportunity to kick the tires on the midfielder for a possible future with the club down the road. If the deal was for 4 years, the Rapids trade amounts to a salary dump that opens up a lot of room under the cap for 2018.

Let us know if this move was a great idea, a terrible decision, or simply meh, in the comments below.