Colorado Rapids ready for roster retooling after Hudson appointment

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – With Anthony Hudson now at the helm, we could all be witness to a different Colorado Rapids team in 2018; one with different formations, tactics and personnel.

Over the past several seasons, Colorado has employed a base 4-2-3-1, at times switching to a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3.

But as he showed during his time managing New Zealand, Hudson has a preference for an organized 5-3-2, a formation that showcases tactical organization and strong defense. Nevertheless, the All-Whites held their own offensively as well during Hudson’s tenure, scoring 32 goals in 27 matches, often matched against stronger teams in the FIFA rankings.

Regardless of what tactical changes he may or may not make, Hudson expressed that the current Rapids squad has some qualities to build on.

“I don’t want to completely throw everything away, there’s been some really good stuff that’s happened in the past,” he said. “I haven’t had enough dealings with the current staff, but it’s going to happen very soon. I was really impressed when they took over in a really difficult position last year. It’s commendable the work they did.”

Hudson wouldn’t talk formations and tactics with the media during his introductory press conference, but he did mention key qualities that he looks for in his teams, and a desire to play an “attacking brand” and “aggressive” style of soccer.

“There’s some really good defensive qualities, but I want to come in and put my own stamp on the team in terms of a system that I believe will get the most out of the players that are currently in place,] and will also give us a structure to bring in players that fit that system,” he continued. “I’ve said it before, the bottom line is about winning, but we want to do it by playing a good brand of soccer.”

Rapids interim GM and sporting director Padraig Smith did give some insight into the team’s current areas of need, pointing to the series of roster moves the team made earlier in the week.

“We absolutely do [have areas of need] and that was evident by the fact that we allowed so many contracts to expire or we decided not to pick up the options on those contracts,” Smith explained. “I would follow on from what Anthony said, I think the number of really positive conversations we’ve had where we’ve been able to very clearly articulate the needs of the current roster, how we’re going to go about recruiting for those players, and ensuring that they fit exactly with what Anthony is trying to do on the field. We’ve very comfortable where we are with the recruitment process.”

That process has already begun, with Colorado announcing the signing of Swedish midfielder Johan Blomberg last week. But with the announced departures of Kevin Doyle, Alan Gordon, and Mekeil Williams, among others, the Rapids still have both offensive and defensive needs to address this offseason.

It will mark an assuredly busy time for Hudson and the Rapids front office. But it’s a process which the new head coach is eager to take on.

Said Hudson, “I’m really looking forward to the staff that’s in place, but there are a few new faces coming in. On the player side, there are also going to be new faces coming in. The biggest thing for me is the transition. Between now and the start of preseason, myself, the staff, Pádraig, the front office, we need to be as organized and prepared as possible to make sure that transition period is as quick as possible. I also want to make sure we have a really good foundation that allows us to get the most out of the players on the training pitch and ultimately to win.”