Rapids ponder move for new defender

Gary Smith - May 14, 2011

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There’s room for one more.

The Colorado Rapids have filled 29 of 30 spots on their roster and while manager Gary Smith has been adamant that he will not trade away any of his current players, that does not mean he is not on the lookout for players who could add to his squad.

Over the offseason, Smith concentrated on boosting his defense and that may continue to be the case as the club decided not to extend a contract offer to Phil Bannister, an English striker the Rapids picked up in the 2011 Supplementary Draft from Loyola University.

Bannister, who had been rehabbing a knee injury in England, played for the Rapids in a recent scrimmage against the University of Denver. But Smith believes the youngster needs more time.

“We won’t be offering him anything at this moment in time,” Smith told MLSsoccer.com “He gave a decent account of himself but he would be best served by playing regularly in a USL group where he can push on physically.”

Smith also has cut short his pursuit of another English player he had targeted earlier this year. Cardiff City left back Martin John, who was not in his club’s 18 for Tuesday’s Premier League promotion playoff semifinal, is no longer part of the Rapids’ plans.

With the re-signing of Danny Earls, Smith appears to have several options at the left back spot where Drew Moor, Anthony Wallace and Scott Palguta have all played this season.

However, there are three other defenders Smith has targeted, who are still potential signing options. Although the manager did not disclose names, he said two of them have MLS experience, including one who is still on the books with an MLS club.

The other player is a central defender currently in Greece’s Superleague, who also has significant experience in the English Championship. Smith, who spent a good part of his offseason trip to England talking with the player’s agent, indicated that the lines of communication are still open.