Star power? Colorado Rapids cool transfer-window shopping, still hunting for "difference-makers"

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The Colorado Rapids spent the last few months accumulating space under the MLS salary cap in order to make a move.

But with the summer transfer window now arriving, Rapids technical director Paul Bravo does not sound quite as set on acquiring a ‘difference-making’ player in the final third. With the Rapids acquiring attacking midfielder Carlos Alvarez from Chivas USA on Tuesday in exchange for Nathan Sturgis, Bravo told MLSsoccer.com that he feels the club’s need for a playmaker may have been filled.

“We’ve now better balanced our group with [the acquisition of Alvarez], getting a guy who can play multiple positions in midfield,” Bravo said. “Carlos is different than Nathan. Carlos brings a little bit more in the final third. Carlos is a guy that we think can help us in that area, which is where we were kind of focusing our attention at this point. … We’re very confident in the group that we have. The staff has made that very clear.”

But Bravo took care to leave open the possibility of a high-profile acquisition.

“If there was an opportunity to add a difference-maker to the group, then we will do that,” he added.

Whether that's mixed signals or intentional vagueness, Bravo now doesn't seem quite as set on making a move to acquire an attack-minded player as he had repeatedly stressed in previous interviews this season.

However, with both Sturgis’ and Marvin Chavez’s contracts now offloaded, Bravo said the Rapids have room to make mid-season acquisitions. Last year, Colorado made two big pickups during the summer transfer window, acquiring both influential playmaker Vicente Sanchez and striker (and the club’s first-ever Designated Player) Gabriel Torres.

Bravo made it clear that the Rapids are still looking for more players – with a particular focus on the attacking end – and he even added that the club has the flexibility to add another Designated Player, if needed. 

“Ownership has always maintained that if we find the right person and the right player that ticks all of our boxes, then yes, those funds are available to us,” Bravo said. “But we also have to be very smart and very calculated. Given we’re not Seattle, we’re not one of those clubs that is going to go out and hunt down Michael Bradley or a [Clint] Dempsey. But ownership has always backed us and supported us. If we do find a player that fits, they would be more than willing to help us.”

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.