2007 Preview - Colorado Rapids

2006 record: 11-13-8 – 41 points (4th in West)
-- lost to Houston in the MLS Cup semifinals.

Key additions: Herculez Gomez (LA Galaxy), Ugo Ihemelu (LA Galaxy), Zach Thornton (Chicago)
Key losses: Joe Cannon (LA Galaxy), Hunter Freeman (Red Bull New York), Clint Mathis (Red Bull New York)

With the opening of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park less than two weeks away, the Colorado Rapids have a new home and a new look for 2007. The team has averaged dismal attendance over the past few seasons, and the hope is that a new soccer-specific-stadium and a late-August visit by David Beckham can help cheer up those numbers.

As for the on-field product, the Rapids have switched out ‘keepers for 2007, with fan favorite Joe Cannon shipped to LA and Zach Thornton brought in from Chicago. Cannon was traded away for two promising young players, forward Herculez Gomez and defender Ugo Ihemelu. Both Gomez and Ihemelu were popular with the Galaxy and have tremendous up-sides. It’s likely that Herculez can net 15 goals this season, if he stays healthy.

Midfielder Kyle Beckerman is getting a look from the Men's National Team, and teammate Pablo Mastroeni was even named captain for the U.S. game vs. Mexico. The Rapids have assembled a lot of talent for this year and will be an improved side - They could go deep into the playoffs as there are no dominant teams in the Western Conference. Colorado is my sleeper pick to make the MLS Cup Finals.

TJ’s projected finish: 3rd in the Western Conference, 5th overall.

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