The Colorado Rapids narrowly missed the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean everyone has gone home. While some of the guys were missing from training last week, most were there and putting in the work just as they had all season. And they’ll be there for the next couple of weeks before the offseason officially starts.
Head Coach Robin Fraser told BW that “this is really an opportunity where we can continue to work on and implement principles that we want to carry into next year. To the guys’ credit they’ve been phenomenal. I mean, postseason training can be a drag. And two days in, they’ve been hard sessions and they’ve been really at it. We’ve been able to talk about some things that are important for us as a team going forward, and guys are just doing it.”
When asked how the transition has been and the biggest difference Andre Shinyashiki has noticed about Fraser he responded: “I just think that Robin is very good at explaining his ideas in a very simple way. I think that he has done a great job, you know, coming in and kind of explaining them in a way that we can understand it very clearly. And I think the group has done well adapting to them.”
These extra weeks of training are giving the coaching staff the opportunity to evaluate the players that are currently on the roster. “It’s pretty much a 24/7 process of looking for players and looking closely at players and just really kind of seeing what we can do to bolster the roster,” he said.
And as every off-season goes, especially one with a new coach, there will inevitably be some changes. “We look everywhere—we look in the league, we look out of the league,” Fraser explained.
While we all know the big DP contracts have freed up a ton of money, that means Padraig Smith and Fraser have some big decisions to make. We always assumed that the DPs would be attacking players, but the Rapids have developed a pretty decent frontline with a core group of young players, so it might make sense to look towards the midfield. Then there’s the backline. We all want to keep Lalas Abubakar and that he might cost a pretty penny to convince the Columbus Crew to give him up, which in turn, reduces the amount of money that can be spent elsewhere.
So what is Fraser focusing on?
“I mean, at the end of the day, we really like our team, and we would look at good players in every position,” Fraser said. “You just have to. I think that we can add and strengthen in certain areas, but I think we will always look at a good player and see how they fit into our system, into our scheme. So without going into specifics, I mean, really generally we are looking at all things.”
After a 10-week roster freeze after the summer window, MLS is opening a two-and-a-half-day trade window that opens on November 11 (1 p.m. ET) and closes on November 13 (8 p.m. ET), ahead of the Expansion Draft on November 19. This would be the ideal time to get a deal for Abubakar, but time will tell if we will see any other moves.