Out of all the trade news we hoped to hear today, I can tell you that learning that the Colorado Rapids traded Micheal Azira to Montreal for a 2020 4th round draft pick was not what we expected. Many of us have been bummed to see Azira on the bench more than the pitch this year and after he was sent to the Switchbacks last week, it didn’t appear that he was going to get more minutes with the Rapids anytime soon. So maybe this trade shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise.
Azira was an integral part of the 2016 season and a regular starter last year as well, so while this is a sad day for fans, maybe this trade is a good thing for him. We can assume that Azira did not fit into Hudson’s system or he would have played, which means it’s not likely that the Rapids would have picked up his option at the end of this season. In Montreal, Azira will be able to compete for a starting position, which didn’t seem like a possibility here.
Rapids’ Executive Vice President and General Manager Pádraig Smith thanked Azira for his time at the club, saying: “I know our fans will always be appreciative of his pivotal role in the club’s 2016 play-off run and we wish him nothing but success in this next stage of his career.”
Impact technical director Adam Braz is excited about Azira’s experience. “Micheal is a player who has quite a bit of experience within MLS as well as on the international level,” he said on MLSSoccer.com. “He is a defensive central midfielder who will provide us with depth in an important position. We look forward to Micheal joining up with the team next week.”
Because Azira had only played a handful of games this season, it’s not likely that he had a ton of value in the market, so perhaps the Rapids offloaded him to free up some money in the salary cap. (His base salary is $125,000, with $131,625 total compensation.) Maybe there is a late-night deal in the works?
Azira has a green card, so he doesn’t free up an international slot for the Rapids or take up an international slot for the Impact.
Either way, it’s disappointing to see Micheal and his family go. We wish them nothing but the best in Montreal.