FCC looks to continue form against Colorado Rapids

Photo of the sword pull against DC United. Photo courtesy Joe Craven.

Just over a quarter of the way through the season, it feels odd previewing a team by their offseason. But no team had as dramatic of an offseason as THE RAPIDS did coming into 2024.

In 2021, the Colorado Rapids were the top of the Western Conference and had the second most points in the league. Afterward, their youngsters were sold to European teams, their veteran leadership was struck with long-term injuries and their front office elected to fill the squad, not with exciting players, but with bargain contracts that other teams from MLS no longer wanted. It resulted in the team finishing dead last in the West in 2023, their manager getting fire, and fan protests breaking out in the supporters section.

Colorado Wins Interim Bowl as Rapids Supporters Walk Out

And by all accounts, it seems that the message has been received.

Instead of searching in the lost and found of MLS contracts, they went out, spent and recruited players to improve their squad. USMNT Goalkeeper Zach Steffen was brought in from Manchester City. USMNT winger Djordjie Mihailovic had his rights purchased from AZ Alkmaar for $3 million. Homegrown players Cole Bassett and Sam Vines were brought back from the European clubs they were sold to a few years prior. And they went out and brought in a DP striker, Rafael Navarro, from Brazilian side Palmeiras.

Arguably any one signing would have been their best signing since winning the Western Conference (although all would be a close call with signing Dominique Badji in 2021), but altogether it is enough to transform a roster.

Early results have been positive signs that they are game changers with a 4-3-2 record, the same as FCC. And they’ve changed up their style to account for the influx of talent.

Under previous manager Robin Frasier, who was fired in 2023, they tried to keep the ball and pass the ball around, hoping the opponent would chase the ball and get tired in the mile-high altitude. This year under new head coach Chris Armas, they still want to retain the ball, are quicker to attack and will look to press more readily when they lose the ball.

This has lead to a great number of chances, with Colorado being sixth in xG created. But their finishing has been lacking, scoring only 13 goals so far. Their DP frontmen, Rafael Navarro, Djordjie Mihailovic and Kevin Cabral, all praised for their creative movement, have only scored seven goals in their 8.66 xG.  

However, because of the money that has been pumped into the attack, it has left their defense wanting. In their opening game of the season, it was torn apart by the Portland counterattack and has shown frailties throughout, whether that is captain Keegan Rosenberry being outrun, or the center backs of Andreas Maxsø and Moise Bombito not communicating well.

At the end of the day, the opportunities will be there, it will just be a question if FCC can answer their biggest question from the first quarter of the season. Can they find a goal scorer?

When: Saturday, April 27 @ 7:30 p.m.

Where: TQL Stadium Cincinnati, OH

How to Watch: MLS Season Pass on AppleTV+ (Sign up here)

To Top