Retooling Rapids still may be in market at striker spot

Conor Casey

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With barely two weeks between now and the start of the MLS regular season, most clubs have settled their rosters and are busy preparing for the upcoming campaign with their teams as they stand.

Unlike most of their MLS counterparts, however, the Colorado Rapids could still have a significant move or two still up their sleeves before the season begins.

“I have always the mentality that it’s my job to strengthen the roster,” Rapids coach Oscar Pareja told MLSsoccer.com this week. “If at any point that there is a move to make the team better, we’ll make it for sure.”

The Rapids only last week acquired 22-year-old playmaker Martín Rivero from Argentine club Rosario Central and had discussions with the Montreal Impact regarding striker Eddie Johnson, only for the Seattle Sounders to eventually one-up their offer. But the activity on the transfer front shows Colorado aren’t afraid to make a significant move so close to the start of the season.

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Striker could be a position of need for the Rapids in particular, with stalwart Conor Casey (above) potentially missing the first few games of the season as he continues to recover from a torn Achilles and veteran Caleb Folan having recently parted ways the club.

Veteran Omar Cummings is a sure bet to occupy one spot atop Pareja’s new 4-3-3 look, but the depth behind Cummings is short, with youngsters Andre Akpan and Quincy Amarikwa the lone true strikers behind Cummings with Casey out and Folan gone.

“We would love to have Conor back in the fold, however, he’s not fit yet,” technical director Paul Bravo told MLSsoccer.com this week from the Hawaiian Islands Invitational in Honolulu. “You can never have enough forwards, that’s why they get paid the big bucks. You need to score goals to win games.”

Pareja echoed Bravo’s comments.

“We’re supporting Conor in his recovery, but if at any point that there is a move to make the team better, we’ll make it for sure,” the coach said.

The Rapids open play in the Hawaiian Islands Invitational on Thursday against Japanese side Yokahama FC.