The Colorado Rapids are swinging for the fences and looking to solve all their goal-scoring issues with one move. On Friday, a report from ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle detailed that USMNT and Columbus Crew forward Gyasi Zardes will be traded to Colorado.
Burgundy Wave can report that the Rapids are working towards his debut being Saturday against Charlotte.
Zardes, a designated player in Columbus, will be a DP for the Burgundy Boys.
The deal will send $300k in 2022 GAM (General Allocation Money) to Ohio. Zardes waves his no-trade clause in the final year of his contract, and Colorado could have to send more assets back if Zardes stays in Commerce City. A reporter in Columbus, Patrick Murphy, says the deal could be for as much as $1.25m.
The trade is still pending league approval.
Zardes had only made one start for the Crew this year while coming off the bench six times. The 30-year-old forward got stuck behind Miguel Berry for playing time. It is a huge deal since it is said that playing time will be a factor in having a chance to make the USMNT’s Qatar 2022 World Cup squad. Zardes has 14 goals in 68 caps.
The California native joined the Crew in 2018, coming over from the Galaxy. He scored 54 goals in 110 regular-season appearances with the Crew, winning MLS Cup 2020.
Zardes will almost certainly become the Rapids starter if not this Saturday, by next Saturday. The star striker will look to help a Rapids offense somewhat broken. They’ve scored 10 goals in nine competitive matches, and nine in seven MLS games. Their expected goals in league play is already 2.5 higher than their total, hinting at their finishing issues. Colorado has not netted two in a game since March 12. Zardes has only scored twice this season in his appearances, one of those goals came in Columbus’ U.S. Open Cup loss on Tuesday.
Despite this, Deigo Rubio, who has been playing the No. 9, has actually been excellent, scoring four of Colorado’s goals. Rubio has been a difference-maker and a chance creator. It would not be a surprise to see Rubio and Zardes play together. Meanwhile, Andre Shinyashiki will struggle to find the field in his natural position at striker. He’s proved to be a solid winger and could be a super-sub for the group since leading goal scorer from last year Michael Barrios and Jonathan Lewis, who has 18 scores in 44 MLS games in Colorado, seemingly have the wings locked down. That’s not to mention the skills of rookie Max and forward-thinking midfielder Bryan Acosta.
Tom Bogert of MLSSoccer.com reports that the Rapids have fielded offers from several MLS teams about Shinyashiki but have rejected moving further in those talks for now. The former Rookie of the Year and DU Pioneer could be on the move if a super-sub role does not work out.
The trade is General Manager Padraig Smith’s third deal with the Crew in recent years, acquiring Lalas Abubakar and Aboubacar Keita from the Ohio side in the past.