COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The spine of the Colorado Rapids midfield may not be back in 2014.
Thomas, a Honduran international, enjoyed a productive campaign that featured two goals in 27 starts last year, but more importantly the defensive midfielder anchored a huge defensive turnaround that saw Colorado allow 12 less goals than they did in 2012. However, his 2014 contract option was not picked up as the club attempts to overcome salary-cap concerns.
“I’m optimistic that he’ll be back," technical director Paul Bravo told MLSsoccer.com last week. "Hendry was a huge part of our turnaround defensively this year. He brings a great element to our club. He’s a guy that has a great deal of experience both internationally and now within our league having played 18 months and finally getting himself and playing consistently week in and week out. It keeps me up at night, but we’re working to try and find that solution.”
Rivero’s two-year loan expired at the end of the season, and the club declined the purchase option after his injury-riddled 2013 campaign.
The Argentine playmaker's agent, Martin Gonzalez, recently confirmed to MLSsoccer.com that negotiations between the two sides are ongoing. Rivero has expressed a clear desire to return to Colorado despite suffering numerous injury concerns that limited him to only 16 matches (six starts) in 2013.
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The question for Bravo and the Rapids is whether they have enough room in their budget for both.
“The challenge in our league is … the more success you have, the harder it becomes, because you don’t get the resources that you would normally [get] if you don’t make the playoffs," Bravo said. "It’s plain and simple. We have our challenges with the cap, as every club does, and we have to find the right balance. It really is a bit of a jigsaw puzzle.”
A decision on the duo is expected by the end of the month.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.