Thursday, January 29, 2009

Smith Lays Down Law as he Builds Squad

The Colorado Rapids team that lines up on opening day against Chivas in LA could be a very different team from what we saw last year. According to Gary Smith in the Denver Post, only club captain, Pablo Mastroeni, is guaranteed a spot. We should take that with a grain of salt because there are a number of other players who are very likely to be fixtures this season. After all, we are not likely to be getting rid of players like Matt Pickens and Ugo Ihemelu when they have been called up to the US squad for next month's vital game against Mexico. However, it does lay down a marker. Smith has shown that he is not scared of moulding this squad as he sees fit. Witness the ruthless way he has despatched last season regulars like Bouna Coundoul, Tom McManus and Facundo Erpen. Granted, those players may have wanted out for different reasons but Smith is for sure redesigning this team so that it has his stamp on it and nobody else's.
Be prepared for a number of changes too before that season opener. If the stories are right and there will be players coming in from Europe and South America, not to mention West Africa, according to new technical director, Paul Bravo, talking on the From The Pitch radio show today, there simply won't be room for all the current squad. It's almost like the Broncos. A massive shakedown of the preseason roster before the playing season starts proper. One interesting note from Bravo also. He said that the club has a lot of respect for Colin Clark but that a similar player would be needed if Clark gets suspended or gets called up for the national team. With all this competition for places emphasis, you can't help but think that this could be a challenge also for Clark to keep fighting for his place.


Scott said...

Oooo, competition. I like this. This is what Pete Carroll has built his college football empire on at USC.

James said...

McManus is not returning?! This slipped by my radar. So we lost 2 fan favorites?!

I don't recall seeing you post on this but I may have just missed it. What's the deal?