The Colorado Rapids have expressed pleasure at the changes and additions new coach Oscar Pareja has made ahead of the 2012 season.
"I think we have brought two players, Martin [Rivero] and Jaime [Castrillon] that are going to give us a different flavor in the middle," coach Pareja said in an exclusive interview with Goal.com. "I think they are going to help the guys that have already been here, and are very solid for me, the two best center midfielders in MLS which is Pablo [Mastroeni] and Jeff [Larentowicz]."
Pareja also highlighted the depth that the squad, ravaged by injury at the end of 2011, now possessed.
"We have players in positions that are going to provide some depth," he added. "We want to have a longer possession of the ball, and I think they are going to provide it."
Coach Pareja has accomplished a difficult feat: bringing in new starters while breathing confidence into the lungs of the entire squad.
"We have more depth, definitely," affirmed defender Kosuke Kimura. "Oscar brought more of a soccer style. We possess the ball now. We have been training to get in there. We have the right personnel. We have got Martin Rivero from Argentina, Jaime [Castrillon] from Colombia, Luis [Zapata] from Colombia too. We have so much depth, and they want to play. It’s good."
The Rapids anticipate more fans at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park thanks to the new additions to the team. They also look forward to a new style of play not seen in previous years.
"The players are very technical," Colombian native Pareja added. "Finances are a factor, and we could afford them. I think it was a great profile of players to bring."
The Rapids hope to make a grand entrance into the 2012 season by combining the talents of players like Omar Cummings and Brian Mullan with the skills of Castrillon, Rivero, and rookie Tony Cascio.
"I think we are more dynamic," shared veteran Tyron Marshall. "We’ve got some guys in there who can handle the ball more offensively. It should bring a bit more spark going forward. I think they are bringing different dynamics then last year, and you are going to see a lot of excitement going forward.”
Tim Gardner contributed additional reporting to this article.