It’s been awhile, but the Rapids Mailbag is back. I’m on the beat this year and want to do my best to answer any questions supporters might have, so give me all of the odd stats, Designated Player rumors speculation and hot takes you’ve got and I will do my best to deliver.
Let’s get rolling.
What are the chances of the Rapids missing the playoffs this year?
-Luke Beasley, Lafayette
Luke, thanks for the question, although I’ll admit this was not the direction I anticipated my first reader question to go. Given the start to the season (Braian Galván injury, the CCL upset and 3-0 loss to LAFC) I have seen panic already in the Rapidsverse. But it’s still early days.
As for missing the playoffs, I’d give that at 30% chance, and that’s generous. They scored 51 goals last year, had the fourth-best defense in all of MLS. William Yarbrough kept 13 clean sheets on top of a great defense.
Yes, I get it. The Rapids haven’t signed a quality DP and are still searching for a bonafide striker.
But Pádraig Smith might be the most sought-after man in MLS. In The Athletic’s annual anonymous MLS Executive Survey, which was released Thursday, Smith and the Rapids received high marks. Who does the most with the least: the Rapids won that with 10 votes. Which sporting executive is the easiest to work with: Smith was second with four votes. Which executive is the toughest negotiator: Smith finished tied for first with three votes.
All of that is to say that despite the slow start, they have the right people in the right places and can rebound.
Per Derry Now, the Rapids are getting a new player. Can you confirm? If it’s true, we’re receiving a guy who had legitimate interest from some European clubs like Celtic and 2 EPL teams: Crystal Palace & Wolverhampton Wanderers.
— Jarett Wadler, Denver
When Irish eyes are smiling, they’re some of the happiest around. I can confirm that Irish eyes are smiling on both sides of the Atlantic. Club sources confirmed that the Rapids are in the final stages of talks with Harris for him to join Rapids 2, not the first team, in the coming weeks. He’s a 19-year-old highly sought-after talent with a keen eye for goal. He scored two crucial goals, one in the semifinals and converted a penalty kick in the final, to help Derry City win the U-19 Irish Cup.
Originally from County Donegal in northwest Ireland, Harris had his contract winding down and turned down a professional contract with Derry City in the League of Ireland to pursue a deal with the Rapids. Chris McNulty, of Donegal Live, reported the deal is for two years. The Rapids won’t have to pay a fee because he was out-of-contract and will join on a free transfer. Harris has been a part of Derry City’s youth set-up for years and there may be a development fee.
While it’s not the striker move fans were expecting, it does look promising for the future if he can adjust to the American style of play quickly.
What’s the Rapids’ plan on the backline once Auston Trusty moves to London?
— Dan, Westminster
There’s a few options here. Notably, it won’t be the only interesting back line move. Lucas Esteves is on loan from Palmeiras until June and that’s another one to watch. As for replacing Trusty, it will be difficult, but the Rapids brought in Aboubacar Keita from the Columbus Crew and, with an adjustment period, he could be the answer. Plus, Smith has said they are always on the lookout for options, so they might dip back into the market if Keita isn’t catching on as soon as they’d hoped.
Anthony Markanich, the recent first-round SuperDraft pick, is now part of the club and has been highly valued for his ability to get up the field and dig in defensively too.
Atlanta’s pressing tactic under Gonzalo Pineda is very similar to LAFC’s look under Cherundolo. Will the team fare any differently than they did last weekend?
I think they have to. It’s the home opener and fans are already grumbling. At the back, they have to be more sure of themselves when they do give up chances. LAFC burned them for being non-committal last week.
As for the press, there are a few ways to get out of it, and the Rapids need to be better in a few areas, most notably creating space out wide by overloading one side (Esteves was the only one who did well here last week, wouldn’t be surprised if Rosenberry is the wide man this time), and jailbreaking them by passing between the lines, or two defenders. Mark-Anthony Kaye, Jack Price and Max have to make sharper runs and be more decisive when they have the ball. Sure, they could always have numbers behind the ball, but I think that’s a bit snooze-a-palooza, and fans want to see expansive play. I think they find a way to do it in a 2-1 win.
Brendan Ploen can be reached via email, firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter, @BrendanPloen
Article Source and Credit denverpost.com https://www.denverpost.com/2022/03/05/rapids-mailbag-michael-harris/ Buy Tickets for every event – Sports, Concerts, Festivals and more buytickets.com