Transfer Tracker

Colorado Rapids permanently acquire Lalas Abubakar, add Auston Trusty in trade

Lalas Abubakar – Colorado Rapids – controls pass


The Colorado Rapids are retooling for the 2020 season, announcing they have acquired defender Lalas Abubakar on a permanent basis, after the player spent most of the 2019 season in Colorado on loan from Columbus Crew SC, in exchange for $400,000 in 2020 General Allocation Money and a 2020 international roster spot.

Abubakar, 24, made 22 league appearances for Colorado this year, helping take the Rapids defense from woeful to solid and was one of the biggest intraleague loan success stories in league history. The Ghanaian, drafted No. 5 overall in the 2017 SuperDraft out of Dayton by Columbus, has made 53 MLS regular-season appearances in his career to date, scoring two goals from central defense.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Lalas back,” said Padraig Smith, Colorado Rapids executive vice president & general manager in a team statement. “Since joining us last year, Lalas has been an integral part of our team and has established himself as a top defender in MLS. We’re excited to have him with us from the start next year and build on the exceptional season he had in 2019.”

In addition, multiple reports, starting with ESPN's Jeff Carlisle, indicated the Rapids would add a second young MLS defender, Philadelphia Union center back Auston Trusty, in a trade, with the Rapids sending allocation money back to Philadelphia.

The trade was subsequently confirmed, with Colorado sending Philadelphia $300,000 in Targeted Allocation Money for 2020 and $300,000 in General Allocation Money for 2021. In addition, if certain performance-based thresholds are met the Rapids would send the Union an additional $150,000 in GAM in 2021, and the Union will retain 30% of the transfer fee if Trusty is sold outside of the league on or before Dec. 31, 2021 and 25% on or after Jan. 1, 2022. A Union release noted, "The percentage would only apply to any amount of total allocation money received over what the Rapids paid the Union for Trusty, not the total transaction fee."

Trusty, 21, was a Union Homegrown signing in 2016 and played significant minutes the last two years. A breakout star in 2018, where he started every MLS regular-season game, Trusty fell down the pecking order in the final months of the 2019 season for the Union. To date, he's made 56 league appearances in MLS, scoring two goals and an assist from the center back position.

“Auston is one of the best young defenders in MLS and we’re excited to have him join the club,” said Smith in a Rapids release. “Despite his young age, he has already gained significant experience in our league and has demonstrated his ability to compete at the highest level and we expect him to fit right into the young, dynamic core of players we are building our roster around.”

The Rapids are aiming to rebuild after a turbulent 2019 season, one in which they started winless in their first 11 games, dismissed head coach Anthony Hudson, rebounded under interim boss Conor Casey and finished the season strong under new head coach Robin Fraser, rallying to have an outside shot of reaching the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs by season's end, although they fell short of that objective.