We had the opportunity to speak with John P Rosch, the managing editor at the excellent Colorado Rapids blog, Burgundy Wave earlier this week. John was kind enough to shed some light on the rumours swirling over the future of Everton and USMNT goalie Tim Howard.
Click here to read the reverse interview as we informed the Burgundy Wave of the goings-on on the Everton side.
RBM - Tim Howard has been linked with the Colorado Rapids right from the outset - what is the link? Or is it the goalie situation at the Rapids fueling these rumors?
BW - The main reason for the link is that the Rapids carry the number one spot in the Major League Soccer Allocation order. For those who may not know what the allocation order is, this is the mechanism that MLS uses to allocate returning USMNT players back to MLS. Basically, when a USMNT player is returning to MLS to play (like Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, etc) they go through this allocation order to be assigned to a team. As the Rapids have that top spot in the allocation order, they are able to work with a player (and his current team) on a transfer to Colorado.
The larger question for many people is why? The Rapids had/have a stable goalkeeping situation. They did trade All-Star Clint Irwin to Toronto FC in the off-season, but still have Zac MacMath who has over 100 starts in Major League Soccer. The Rapids have many needs, but goalkeeping is not one of them. However, Howard offers the Rapids something they have never had: a big, recognizable name that will get 'butts in the seats' and get people energized about this team.
RBM - For a goalkeeper in as bad a rut as Howard is, he sure is asking for a lot of money in wages. How does the Rapids fanbase feel about him and his demands?
BW - Honestly, the demands (if true) are shocking. There is no scenario that paying nearly $5 million a year for four years for a goalkeeper that is in the form of Howard makes sense. The bulk of the Rapids fanbase seem to like the idea of Howard in Burgundy, but can't justify paying that amount. If Howard were to accept less money, I think the fanbase would be quite excited about his pending arrival.
RBM - How about the management at the Rapids, do you think would they be interested in getting Howard despite his advanced years?
BW - The Rapids have been a dumpster fire for the past two years. In 2013, the Rapids were one of the most exciting and young teams in MLS. They set team records for points and wins in that season and made the MLS playoffs. In that off-season they lost their head coach and and began a downward spiral over the next two season that led to 17 wins in 68 games including an 18 game winless run. They have been, in a word, terrible
So for the Rapids, they need to make a splash. They were dead last in attendance last season and the fanbase is restless and frustrated. The Rapids FO believes that Howard could bring people back to the park to see the Rapids and make them a must see event. And they (the Rapids Front Office) are willing to overpay to make that a reality.
RBM - Tell our fans a little more about the Rapids - how about three reasons why Toffees should cheer for Colorado in this upcoming season?
The Rapids are one of the original ten MLS franchises and are beginning their 21st year in the league. They have one MLS Cup Championship (in 2010) and have a very passionate and hard working fanbase that cares for this team very deeply.
Why should Everton cheer for the Rapids?
1) In 2008, the Rapids hosted Everton in Colorado and the Toffees knocked off the Rapids 2-1 in front of a capacity crowd at Dick's Sporting Goods Park (our home pitch).
2) The Rapids are the team that is the underdog in everything. We have to work hard for everything that we have and nothing is given to us. We embrace that role and would not want it any other way.
3) We don't have the big names that other teams have and want to find the diamonds in the rough and win football matches with a team of 11 rather than one or two big names that many other teams have.
Our thanks to John for his time and his insight. For Toffees who are looking for a club of similar stature and passion, the Rapids just might be your MLS team to cheer for.