COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – With a defense conceding 2.7 goals per game this season, the Colorado Rapids are making moves to address the team’s defensive issues.
Following yesterday’s close of the MLS primary transfer window, Colorado announced the acquisition of defender Lalas Abubakar on a one-year loan from Columbus Crew SC in exchange for $125,000 in 2019 Targeted Allocation Money. The 24-year-old was a first round MLS SuperDraft pick of Columbus in 2017 and went on to make 35 appearances for the Crew, pitching in two goals.
“We are pleased to bring in a young and athletic defender in Lalas,” Rapids executive VP and GM, Pádraig Smith said. “He is a quick and physical centerback with good experience in the league.”
A Ghanaian international, Lalas holds a U.S. Green Card and will not take up an international roster spot.
The addition of Lalas was one of several moves announced or expected to be announced by the Rapids Wednesday, along with the addition of forward Jonathan Lewis, who was acquired via trade with NYCFC.
“We are thrilled to welcome Jonathan to Colorado,” said Smith. “He is one of the best young attacking talents in the United States, a dynamic game changer with the potential to develop into an elite level attacker in MLS. His age, character and skillset fit perfectly with the type of player we want to bring to Colorado and with the plans we have for the future of our club.”
Colorado also traded veteran midfielder Benny Feilhaber in exchange for defender Abdul Rwatubyaye, a 2019 international roster spot, $50,000 in 2019 Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), and a second round pick in the 2020 SuperDraft, the club announced. Additionally, Colorado Rapids swap positions in the Waiver Order with Sporting Kansas City.
Rwatubyaye only holds a P-1 Visa, and therefore will take up that international roster spot per MLS roster rules.
Feilhaber will serve as a season-ending injury replacement player for Sporting Kansas City and as part of the trade, Colorado receives Sporting Kansas City’s $250,000 season-ending injury replacement player allowance.
“This transaction allows us to accumulate and reallocate significant assets toward younger, dynamic, high potential players who are committed to our club and our project,” Smith said. “We are pleased to welcome Abdul to Colorado. He is a player with big talent and a lot of upside who we are excited to see develop with us.”
Rwatubyaye has represented Rwanda at the U-17, U-20, U-23 and senior national team levels. The 22-year-old has made two appearances for SKC this season (one start), but played six years professionally in his home nation of Rwanda, winning three league titles in the country’s top flight.
With new players in tow, Colorado will look for their first win of the season at home this weekend as they host Rocky Mountain Cup rival Real Salt lake at 9 p.m. ET Saturday.