Eddie Ababio

Rapids keep pick, select defender Ababio

Gary Smith did not follow the example of bitter rivals Real Salt Lake and trade a first round draft pick. Instead, the Colorado Rapids selected defender Eddie Ababio from the University of North Carolina.

According to the Rapids head coach, Ababio has some very sound defensive skills that the team can work with.

“I am very pleased,” he told MLSsoccer.com. “He’s very athletic and competitive and gives us some natural defensive qualities.”

Smith, who some thought may trade away his first round draft pick, also said the team is unlikely to trade the second round pick at No. 36. “I doubt we will trade; there aren’t too many offers.”

The head coach had said before the draft that he may be seeking an extra defender to offer more general depth in the back.

The 5-foot-11 player also offers a lot of versatility, having played as a forward as well in his junior 2008 season in which he scored seven goals. In his senior 2009 season, he appeared in only three games, starting twice as a defender, before taking a medical redshirt.

WATCH: Ababio goes at No. 18

The Rapids now appear pretty stocked at the back with Tyrone Marshall having signed for the Rapids through the Expansion Draft and offering back-up to key central defenders Drew Moor and Marvell Wynne.

The club also has Scott Palguta to rely on at either center or full-back with Kosuke Kimura and Antony Wallace playing on the flanks. Ababio will give a little bit more depth in the back.

Smith has also said he would like to add a midfielder and/or an extra forward. With Omar Cummings’ status as a Rapids player still in doubt given his training stint with Aston Villa and with Macoumba Kandji out injured until at least the summer, the Rapids do need some more depth upfront to partner Conor Casey.

Such depth is unlikely to come from a second round draft pick, however. Smith looks more likely to rely on back-up strikers Andre Akpan and Quincy Amarikwa to provide depth here.

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