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Checking in on the Colorado Rapids’ younger players in the USL

How Phillip Mayaka and other prospects are faring in the USL

Isaiah J. Downing

The Colorado Rapids front office has constructed their roster around two common themes—depth and youth. With one of the youngest rosters in the league, they employ some of the most talented prospects in the league, like Cole Bassett. But, of course, not every young player can come flying out of the gates and make the first team like Bassett.

That’s where the Rapids’ USL affiliation with the Colorado Springs Switchbacks comes into play. The Rapids currently have seven players on loan in the USL, with another, Sebastian Anderson, recently recalled. Matt Hundley, Abraham Rodriguez, Yaya Toure, Michael Edwards, and Philip Mayaka are with the Switchbacks, while Jeremy Kelly and Andre Rawls are with Phoenix Rising FC.

Goalkeeper Abraham Rodriguez has started one match, a 3-0 loss against San Antonio FC, while Philip Mayaka and Yaya Toure have both made two substitute appearances. Michael Edwards has started all three matches for the Switchbacks so far, while Anderson played two before his loan was recalled. Matt Hundley is yet to make an appearance.

The two Phoenix Rising loanees currently sit atop their conference in the USL, with Andre Rawls starting two matches, and Jeremy Kelly appearing as a sub for three.

Following the first match in the new downtown Weidner Field in Colorado Springs, which ended in a loss for the Colorado Springs Switchbacks, Burgundy Wave was able to talk to Switchbacks head coach Brendan Burke about the Rapids loanees and their progress.

Coach Burke described the Rapids loanees in the Springs—Toure, Mayaka, and Edwards—as “good but inexperienced.”

He recognizes their potential, however, going on to say, “They are guys who are talented, and are going to impact these types of games.”

Rapids fans were perhaps a little surprised to see third-overall MLS Superdraft Pick Philip Mayaka be loaned to the USL, and, despite a shaky debut against New Mexico United, Coach Burke was again encouraged by what he saw, saying, “I’m certainly not panicked. I’m encouraged by their performances.”

There’s no doubt these young players on loan have a bright future. It’s possible we could see one or more of them in MLS action this year and beyond.