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Colorado Rapids 2021 MLS Preview

It’s time to take a look at what the Rapids have done this offseason and what we can look forward to in 2021.

Design: SB Nation; Player photos: John A. Babiak - @Photog_JohnB

It’s that time of year again and after 2020, I think we’re all ready and excited for the 2021 season. With that, let’s review what happened in the post/offseason and what Colorado Rapids fans have to look forward to.

2020 record: 8-4-6, 5th in the Western Conference, lost to Minnesota United FC in first round of the playoffs

Head coach: Robin Fraser

Key additions:

  • Michael Barrios
  • Michael Edwards
  • Oliver Larraz
  • Philip Mayaka
  • Yaya Toure
  • Darren Yapi
  • William Yarbrough (permanently signed)

Key losses:

  • No major losses

Best offseason move:

The Rapids signed a bunch of young players that will hopefully develop into regular starters, but the two best moves this offseason were Michael Barrios and William Yarbrough. Locking down Yarbrough was a major goal for the FO after last season and they got Barrios for practically nothing — the Rapids gave FC Dallas an international roster spot and the 15th overall pick in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft. They didn’t necessarily need another winger, but his experience and skill level will definitely bolster Colorado’s offense.

Reasons to be worried about the Rapids:

Fans of the Colorado Rapids have plenty of reasons to be optimistic, especially in recent years as things have been trending in a positive direction. But considering the roster includes just one Designated Player and many fans were hoping that the FO would drop some money on a big playmaker this offseason, there are still concerns around the offense. While Padraig Smith feels confident in Diego Rubio and the rest of the offense when it comes to scoring goals, many fans are hoping it pans out.

Why the Rapids are worth watching:

Last season, Major League Soccer adjusted the playoff qualifications more or less for the Rapids since they would be playing significantly fewer games due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the club. Despite playing just 18 games in 2020 (every other team in the conference played 21-23), Colorado still made the playoffs the old-fashioned way: overall points. Sure, they didn’t look great and got bounced in the first round of the playoffs by Minnesota United FC, but they finished the season on a three-game winning streak AND won the Rocky Mountain Cup for the first time since 2015.

The FO may not have signed a DP in the offseason like fans might have been expecting, but without losing any key players and only bringing in more talent, spirits should be high in what will hopefully be Robin Fraser’s first full regular season as head coach. If things go how they’ve been trending over the past season and a half, the Rapids will do well and make it to postseason again.