“What we want is players that can keep hold of the ball, link the play and combine,” Hudson told reporters on Monday. “Kellyn is actually the perfect player that suits the way we play. It’s just that. He’s a good footballer. He’s intelligent, knows the game and is an athlete; quick and powerful.”
Acosta trained with Colorado Monday following the announcement of a trade which sent Dominique Badji to FC Dallas. Prior to landing in Colorado, the former Dallas Homegrown had his fair share of struggles this season, sustaining a sports hernia injury at the beginning of the year and later contributing just a goal and a pair of assists in 674 minutes of action.
However, with a change of scenery, Acosta is excited for a fresh start.
“I want to get back to enjoying the game again,” Acosta said. “This is the right step to do that. Coming into training, I’m already enjoying myself. I want to reboot myself, get my legs back to how I’m used to playing and go from there.”
Known as solid holding midfielder with box-to-box capabilities, Acosta will be given room to roam under Hudson, whether it be in Colorado’s base 3-5-2, or a variation of the 4-4-2 which the Rapids have shown at times throughout the season.
“Kellyn is the type of player that can play in any of the two or three systems that we want to play,” Hudson explained. “He’s just an intelligent, good footballer.”
Added Rapids team captain Tim Howard, “Our plan is to put as much responsibility on his shoulders as possible; for him to come in and run the show and run the team.”
However, with the exit of Badji, who led Colorado in goals with seven, the Rapids will now have to look for offensive production elsewhere. Though they're confident that new acquisition Giles Barnes will step up, they’re also looking for contributions from Acosta and the rest of midfield.
“I’m trying to help the team score more goals,” Acosta said. “I want to be as attacking minded as possible and help out defensively. I like the box-to-box role as a No. 8, so I want to fill that role and help out in any way possible.”
But as Rapids assistant vice president and general manager Padraig Smith explained, giving up Badji was essential in acquiring a player like Acosta.
“There’s no doubt that when you undergo a trade of this magnitude, there’s going to be a little bit of give and take,” said Smith. “It’s hard to give someone up like Dominique Badji, but it’s a lot harder to bring someone in like Kellyn Acosta. Ultimately, that’s what this boils down to.”
Some observers, including MLSSoccer.com's Bobby Warshaw, consider this a win for both parties. For those running the club in Colorado, it’s a major next step in the evolution of the "Rapids Way."
“We’ve been very clear about the style of football we want to play,” Smith explained. “We want to be more attacking. We want to be more entertaining. We want a team that plays with intensity, energy and boldness. When you look around this league and the players that do that, Kellyn is one of those that ticks every single box. We’re thrilled. It’s a big step for this club and a big day for us – a milestone.”