COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Tuesday’s moves by the Colorado Rapids may be indicative of the type of squad the reigning MLS Cup champions will seek to build in the offseason.
First, the Rapids acquired midfielder Joseph Nane from Toronto FC. Later, they inked defender Mavell Wynne to a multi-year contract.
With at least 10 more games scheduled for the 2011 MLS season – including more league games and CONCACAF Champions League matches, not to mention the return of the reserve league – Colorado will need to call on the services of players outside of their core starting group.
Nane, a rookie in 2010, may be just that kind of player. He could serve as a back-up to fellow defensive midfielders Pablo Mastroeni and Jeff Larentowicz, and even new singing Peter Vagenas.
[inline_node:318653]The signing of Wynne was the first step taken by head coach Gary Smith to keep the Cup-winning team together as much as possible. He lost Julien Baudet and Danny Earls via trade to the Seattle Sounders, but is eager to keep his core group intact and solidify it.
“The first step is to keep the group pretty much intact,” Smith told MLSsoccer.com. “And then we want to add incrementally strong players to the squad.”
To add more depth to the roster, the Rapids are looking to bring in young players through the SuperDraft in January. Furthermore, the champs are eyeing players outside of MLS – the coach said he is looking at a center half in Europe – and are scouting USL teams in search of talent.
A move for a big-money player, however, could be ruled out. Smith told MLSsoccer.com this week that that seems unlikely at this stage.
According to the coach, the next move Colorado may make could be securing the services of striker Omar Cummings, whose current contract ends in 2012. The club has consistently said it would entertain suitable offers from teams overseas for the Jamaican international, but would clearly like to keep hold of him.
“Omar has been a revelation for the group and I would hope there would be a reward for the lad,” Smith said of Cummings. “We want a happy and comfortable player who continues to be effective for us.”
Smith also said he was looking for an additional forward to help replace the injured Macoumba Kandji, who looks set to be out for about eight months following the torn ligament he sustained when helping score Colorado’s winning goal in the MLS Cup final last month.