New-look Rapids open season at Timbers

League: MLS

Posted on: 24 Feb, 2024 at 04:08 AM

Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rapids cleaned house after having the second-worst record in MLS last season.

Chris Armas is the new coach, and plenty of familiar faces are gone as the Rapids open the season on Saturday night against the host Portland Timbers.

Colorado (5-17-12, 27 points in 2023) had a better record than only Toronto FC during a miserable campaign that came just two seasons after the Rapids recorded 17 victories.

Captain and midfielder Jack Price, striker Diego Rubio, defender Danny Wilson and goalkeeper William Yarbrough are among the stalwarts no longer with the organization.

Zack Steffen, the 2018 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year for the Columbus Crew, was a big-time addition. Among the other new faces are midfielders Omir Fernandez and Djordje Mihailovic and defender Sam Vines for his second stint with the team.

Defender Keegan Rosenberry has stepped into the captain's role and is optimistic that the changing of the guard will lead to success.

"It's been new for everybody -- new staff, a lot of new players, a new system." Rosenberry said. "I feel like everybody has had a great attitude about it. ...

"I think overall we've made strides and we're in a good place going into Portland."

The Timbers (11-13-10, 43 points) also have a new coach in Phil Neville, who was fired by Inter Miami during the 2023 season.

Portland missed the playoffs and is eyeing a return after adding goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau and defender Kamal Miller.

Among the departed players are popular midfielder Sebastian Blanco and forward Yimmi Chara.

The Timbers have two designated player openings, and it figures at least one will be filled soon to prevent lack of depth from becoming an issue.

"We still need that difference-maker ... with the ability to carry the team, the organization and the fan base on their shoulders to success," Neville said.

Starting defender Claudio Bravo (knee) is sidelined for the start of the season.

Portland went 1-0-1 against the Rapids last season. The Timbers hold a 12-10-7 edge in MLS regular-season play.

--Field Level Media