CHICAGO – Friday’s MLS SuperDraft accented what has been a busy offseason rife with change for the Colorado Rapids.
Finishing 10 points clear of last-place San Jose in head coach Anthony Hudson’s debut 2018 campaign, Colorado is in the midst of another rebuild – one which has seen the additions of proven MLS talent including Nicolás Mezquida, Kei Kamara, Diego Rubio, Keegan Rosenberry and Benny Feilhaber.
The Rapids added to the mix Friday in Chicago with three selections from the college ranks.
As has become commonplace, this year’s MLS SuperDraft opened with several swaps of picks and resources. Among the moves was Colorado’s trade of the 15th overall pick and $100,000 in allocation money to draft hosts Chicago Fire for the No. 5 selection.
Colorado then used the No. 5 overall pick to select University of Denver forward Andre Shinyashiki. Playing his college ball just 45 minutes away from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Shinyashiki was arguably the best forward in the NCAA ranks in 2018, ranking first in the nation in goals per game (1.33), total goals (28) and game winners (11).
“I knew that they had a lot of interest in me, but I did not know that they were going to trade up to get me,” Shinyashiki told Pro Soccer USA. “On the interview process, we had in the combine they said they were interested in me. They liked my ability to score goals and also defend off the ball.”
Shinyashiki played a variety of roles for DU head coach Jamie Franks in his four years with the Crimson and Gold, and was praised for his versatility.
“As a forward, you do not always see players who are willing to scrap and fight for every ball, but Andre never takes a play off,” Franks said.
In addition to MLS veterans Kamara and Rubio, Shinyashiki will be a welcome addition to a Colorado Rapids offense that finished dead last in scoring with 36 goals last season.
Colorado focused on stocking its defense in the second round of the draft, taking Michigan defender Marcello Borges with the 28th overall pick and Jacob Hauser-Ramsey with the 42nd overall pick.
Borges is a former member of the New York Red Bulls Academy system, and he featured in two matches in 2015 for Red Bulls II. He also played at the international level as a member of the United States U-18 and U-20 squads.
Borges was projected to be a first-round talent in several mock drafts and could be expected to compete at left back, which is currently a position of need for Colorado.
Hauser-Ramsey is likewise another pickup with MLS academy experience. Prior to UConn, the Seattle, Wash., native was a member of the Seattle Sounders academy system.
In college, the 6-foot-3 centerback was selected as a co-captain, earned unanimous selection to the AAC All-Conference First Team and took home the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
In a similar mold to current Rapids’ centerback Kortne Ford, Hauser-Ramsey adds youth and athleticism to Colorado’s central defense.
The MLS SuperDraft will conclude Monday with rounds three and four held via a conference call at 1 p.m. ET.