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Colorado Rapids 2018 season preview: Roster, projected lineup, schedule, national TV and more

23:16 SAST 2018/02/15
Shkelzen Gashi, Colorado Rapids
With a new coaching staff, new members of the front office and plenty of new signings, the Rapids hope 2018 will be different than last year

The Colorado Rapids have a new look.

They needed one. After overachieving in 2016, things came crashing back to earth in a 2017 season that saw the Rapids fire coach Pablo Mastroeni and finish with just one point more than the league's two worst teams.

Former New Zealand manger Anthony Hudson is now at the helm, putting his stamp on the team with a number of his former international players.

The organization also has shaken things up in the front office and signed several other players in an effort to get back into the top tier of Major League Soccer. 


How did the Colorado Rapids perform in 2017?


2017 finish: 10th in Western Conference (9-19-6)  

After making the Western Conference finals with a solid 2016 season, the wheels fell off for the Rapids in 2017. Pablo Mastroeni was let go midway through the season with the Rapids having won only three games into August. Steve Cooke saw out the remainder of the year as interim manager.


Colorado's key offseason losses


After playing nearly 30 matches for the Rapids in 2017, midfielder Mohammed Saeid headed back to Europe to join Lyngby BK.

Josh Gatt's option for the new season was declined after 20 matches played for the Rapids in 2017.

And Mike Grella we hardly knew ye. The New York Red Bulls midfielder was selected by Colorado in the re-entry draft but was then traded to the Columbus Crew the same day for a draft pick.


Colorado's key offseason additions


There are plenty of new faces alongside new coach Anthony Hudson.

The Rapids moved to solidify their back line by signing a trio of defenders Hudson coached with the New Zealand national team. Kip Colvey was acquired in the waiver draft while Tommy Smith signed from Ipswich Town. Deklan Wynne was acquired from the Vancouver Whitecaps in a trade for TAM.

They also signed former United States international Edgar Castillo from Monterrey.

Up top, the Rapids added former LA Galaxy forward Jack McBean with former AIK midfielder Johan Blomberg also joining the club as the No. 8 and Jack Price joining from Wolverhampton Wanderers. 


Full Colorado Rapids roster entering 2018 season


Goalkeepers: Andrew Dykstra, Tim Howard, Zac MacMath, Thomas Olsen

Defenders: Edgar Castillo, Kip Colvey, Kortne Ford, Eric Miller, Axel Sjoberg, Tommy Smith, Jared Watts, Danny Wilson, Deklan Wynne

Midfielders: Bismark Adjei-Boateng, Stefan Aigner, Micheal Azira, Johan Blomberg, Shkelzen Gashi, Marlon Hairston, Sam Hamilton, Ricardo Perez, Jack Price, Dillon Serna

Forwards: Dominique Badji, Caleb Calvert, Niki Jackson, Jack McBean


Colorado Rapids projected starting lineup


Hudson has worked with a three-man back line with New Zealand and looks set to do the same with the Rapids. With four goalkeepers on the preseason roster, there are several of options available to him should he feel Tim Howard is past his best, but the job looks to be the veteran's for now.

At the back, things are a bit less clear. Axel Sjoberg was a key piece of the defense when healthy, but rumors indicated he was being shopped around this preseason. He could fit in with Hudson's system, but Kortne Ford also profiles as a starter next to Tommy Smith. Edgar Castillo, whose defense never has been his strong point, and Marlon Hairston do make for excellent wingback options.

Rumors continue of a new forward being signed in the offseason, someone that would give Dominique Badji competition up front and also serve as a potential replacement should Shkelzen Gashi struggle with injuries once again. A preseason calf complaint already has fans worried he will.


Colorado Rapids' national TV coverage


Colorado Rapids vs. Orlando City - Sunday, April 29, at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN
Colorado Rapids vs. Atlanta United - Saturday, September 15, at 3:30 p.m. ET on Unimas