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Stejskal: Colorado Rapids waive Designated Player Shkelzen Gashi

The Colorado Rapids have waived Designated Player Shkelzen Gashi, sources told MLSsoccer.com on Friday.

The Rapids had to move several international players in order to become roster compliant prior to the league’s roster compliance deadline on Friday night. Colorado had more international players than international slots, and the sources said that the club prioritized keeping their other internationals ahead of Gashi.

Acquired ahead of the 2016 from Swiss club FC Basel, Gashi largely disappointed in Colorado. The 30-year-old attacker had nine goals and four assists in 26 league appearances in his first year in MLS before falling off significantly the last two seasons. He had two goals and one assist in 17 games and 12 starts in 2017 and two goals and two assists in 21 appearances and nine starts last season. With Colorado acquiring forwards Kei Kamara and Diego Rubio via trade and drafting Andre Shinyashiki, who will take up an international slot to start the season, this winter, playing time looked like it’d be even more scarce for Gashi in 2019.

Every other MLS team will now have an opportunity to claim Gashi via waivers. Any team interested must notify the league of their intention to claim Gashi and the amount of his $530,000 salary budget charge that they’re willing to absorb. The team willing to absorb the highest salary budget charge will be awarded Gashi. If the highest salary budget charge is submitted by more than one club, Gashi will be awarded to the team with the higher position in the Waiver Order.

Gashi’s contract is guaranteed through the 2019 season. According to the MLS Players Association, he made $1.67 million in 2018. By waiving him, Colorado assume responsibility for Gashi’s entire salary; the league will no longer pay the first $530,000 of his wages as they do with DPs on active rosters. If he’s claimed by a new MLS club, that team will pay him the amount of his salary budget charge that they informed the league they were willing to absorb, with Colorado set to pay the difference. If he goes unclaimed, the Rapids will be on the hook for his entire salary.

Colorado will host the Portland Timbers in their 2019 season opener on Saturday (6 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US and DAZN in Canada).

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