Toke Theilade writes for Vilfort Park. He reached out to provide a guest post scouting report on Brøndby IF’s Andreas Maxsø, who’s been linked with the Rapids. You can follow him on Twitter @TokeTheilade.
The recently finished MLS season saw Hany Mukhtar finish a league MVP and top scorer after scoring 23 goals, and Mikael Uhre lead Philadelphia Union to the MLS Cup Final. Mukhtar and Uhre both moved to the MLS after incredibly successful stints at Danish giant Brøndby IF, and now a third Brøndby player is about to join the duo.
Colorado Rapids are reportedly close to signing Brøndby captain Andreas Maxsø. But who is the experienced central defender, and what does he bring to Colorado?
From Brøndby and Back Again
It is almost impossible to get a better football education than the one Andreas Maxsø received. Growing up in the Western outskirts of Copenhagen, he joined local club Brøndby at the age of six. Here, he played on a talented team with numerous players that would end up as pros, including Pierre-Emile Højbjerg of Tottenham Hotspur.
However, at the age of 16, he joined FC Nordsjælland due to losing his spot in the team. Nordsjælland are these days known as Denmark’s primary talent factory and they are the club behind the two ever biggest sales from the Danish Superliga. At Nordsjælland, Maxsø transitioned from midfielder to central defender after a remarkable growth spurt.
The new position suited Maxsø well. He quickly went to make his name as one of the best center backs of the Superliga. Already at 21, he earned the vice-captaincy, and the following season, 2016-17, he became captain.
Like many other Nordsjælland talents before and after him, he outgrew the club at an early age, and opted for a move to Turkey and Osmanlispor.
Moving abroad was a mixed success for Maxsø though. He was relegated with Osmanlispor in his first season and left the club, and then played a season for FC Zürich before he joined German side FC Uerdingen 05, where he lasted just two months before buying himself out of the contract.
Leaving Uerdingen turned out to be a good decision though, as he joined Brøndby on a free transfer afterwards.
Returning to his boyhood club in September 2019 truly boosted his career. Maxsø immediately established himself as the defensive cornerstone, and just six months after his arrival, he earned the captain’s armband.
Playing in a young and inexperienced side, Maxsø was the leader the rest of the squad looked for in difficult times. His performances earned him the title as Brøndby’s Player of the Year in 2020, a title legends such as Michael Laudrup and Peter Schmeichel have also won before him. The same year, he earned his debut on the Danish national team.
In 2021, Maxsø led Brøndby to the first Danish championship title in 16 years, instantly becoming a club legend. However, it was also obvious that Maxsø had done everything he could at the club and needed bigger challenges.
The defender agreed to joining Russian side FC Rostov later that summer, but the transfer fell through last minute as the Russian club sacked their head coach. Six months later, a transfer to French side Bordeaux also collapsed last minute and Maxsø seemed like the most unlucky player in the country.
Brøndby fans had already accepted that the captain wanted, and deserved, a big contract and challenge abroad, and he remained popular despite the public flirting with other clubs.
A Leader of Men and Technically Gifted
Becoming captain at an early age at FC Nordsjælland and later at Brøndby shows that Maxsø is a natural leader. His presence on the pitch is remarkable, and he has a highly positive influence on his teammates.
Maxsø is furthermore a big game player. He is at his best when the stakes are high, and he doesn’t crumble under pressure. He keeps his composure and isn’t the type of player that is booked unnecessarily.
Maxsø scored against arch rivals FC Copenhagen in a 2-1 victory on Brøndby’s road to the championship in 2021, and he added another goal against Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League qualification.
At almost 29-years-old, Maxsø is an experienced veteran with plenty of experience from high level games. He’s played regularly since he broke through as a youngster, and have also performed well in European fixtures.
The Dane is skilled in the art of defending. He is tough to dribble past due to his anticipation and body control, and he has excellent positioning skills. At Brøndby he was mostly used in a 3-5-2 formation with three central defenders, but he has also excelled in a back four.
One of the things that sets Maxsø apart from most defenders are his skills on the ball. He is best friends with the ball, and is comfortable with it at his feet. This makes him able to always help out teammates under pressure by demanding the ball, and it makes his teams able to withstand aggressive pressing. His passing skills are furthermore great, and he contributes offensively as the first man in the build up of attacks. His passing accuracy is normally around 90 percent, which ranks in the top among defenders.
Lastly, Rapids are getting a strong athlete in Maxsø. At 6’3, he is a tall defender and his height makes him a strong presence in the air – offensively as well as defensively. His top speed has been measured at 31.7 km/h this season, according to the official Superliga website, making him relatively fast for a central defender, and his endurance level is at top level.
During his three and a half years at Brøndby, he was never substituted. He played 90 minutes in all but two games, where he exited early due to red cards. He is thus both capable of playing at a high level even in the hardest schedules, but also avoids injuries.
Andreas Maxsø leaves Brøndby as one of the club’s most popular players in recent years and as a club icon, despite only playing first team football there for three and a half season. He will be severely missed by both fans and teammates both on and off the pitch.
During the last seasons, he’s been one of the best players in the Superliga and he has all the skills needed to take over MLS and become a dominating figure, just like Uhre and Mukhtar did before him.