Here’s what Kellyn Acosta and Cole Basset’s moves mean for the Colorado Rapids
In a stunning deal for football fans across the United States, midfielder Kellyn Acosta was traded from the Rapids to LAFC for a lump sum of stipend dollars on Friday. But the blockbuster makes perfect sense for Colorado, considering the factors that played into the trade.
Friday morning’s move sent the U.S. men’s national team midfielder to Southern California for $1 million in general allocation money, up to $1.5 million if specific incentives are met, as well as a percentage of any revenue from a future sale of Acosta. MLSSoccer.com’s Tom Bogert first reported the matter.
A source told Vague de Bourgogne that Acosta and the club could not agree to extend Acosta’s contract, which was due to expire at the end of 2022, with a club option for 2023. According to Taylor Twellman, this does not has only increased interest in a move for Acosta across MLS, with reigning Supporters Shield champions New England also expressing interest. Still, LAFC’s offer was the most lucrative, and Acosta was shipped off to the City of Angels, remaining in MLS, instead of moving to Europe.
Acosta has always been clear about his ambitions to play in Europe. In January 2019, the Rapids turned down a lucrative offer for the midfielder, but FC Dallas still maintained 50% of the selling fee. The Rapids have yet to attract any serious European interest since, except for a last-minute loan offer for Acosta before the LAFC trade was finalized, which meant Acosta again missed out. chance to move to Europe.
Acosta expressed his frustrations on Twitter, saying the Rapids “pushed him out” and had an “offer on the table from the outsider.”
This story is sad. CO pushed me out. They had an offer for me on the table from overseas and ongoing interest and chose to trade me…
— Kellyn Acosta (@KellynAcosta) January 14, 2022
Nobody forced Acosta to move except himself, in my opinion, at least. By not extending his contract in Colorado, he could have left for free when it expired. And, between the public’s constant wishes to play in Europe and not agreeing on an extension, Acosta didn’t seem the most determined to represent Colorado past 2022.
His value both internationally and in MLS will continue to decline as he ages, and as his contract nears expiration, the Rapids have pulled the trigger and will reap the rewards with further investment in the team (more on that later.) Also, after a hugely successful year with the USMNT, making multiple camps and performing well in Nations League and World Cup qualifying, Acosta’s value would have been quite high.
The ‘offer on the table from outsider’ Acosta mentioned was a one-year loan, which would see Acosta burn an extra year on his contract without representing the Rapids, with the club likely making very little (if any) from profit off of this. The Rapids said that loan deal would have been a free loan.
Of course, you can understand Acosta’s frustrations at not being transferred abroad, but for the club itself it was either losing him at a hugely discounted price or even free later, either move it now. The club opted to move him now, a position Acosta put himself in by not extending his contract.
The case is not the same for Cole Bassett, who is set to move to Dutch giants Feyenoord on a year and a half loan, with an option to buy. The news first broke in the Netherlands, but has been verified by numerous US sources, including The Associated Press. This agreement seems imminent.
Adding even more smoke to this rumor, Bassett left USMNT training camp on Saturday for undisclosed reasons.
Similar to Acosta, a loan for Bassett doesn’t add much value to the Rapids, even if a loan fee is levied (which I suspect will happen).
Yet unlike Acosta, Bassett is still in full development and has yet to reach his potential. If Bassett’s loan to Rotterdam is successful, upon his return to the Rapids his value would skyrocket and the club could make even more money on a potential sale, or Feyenoord would activate their option to buy. Either way, the club will make a lot of money with Bassett if the loan goes well.
Whatever assets the club acquires for Acosta (and probably Bassett soon), both represent big holes to fill in midfield, especially having already left fellow midfielder Younes Namli in December.
But now is not the time to panic. In fact, these moves should encourage excitement for 2022 and beyond. Because, even with the departures of Younes Namli, Acosta and soon Bassett, the Rapids midfielder is still solid, and the club has plenty of options, both internally and externally, to replace them.
The club have essentially replaced Bassett already, signing young Brazilian midfielder Max on January 6, and already have Jack Price and Mark Anthony Kaye on the roster, two acclaimed and successful MLS midfielders. If those three are the starting midfielders for the Rapids next season, I’d say (depending on how Max adjusts to MLS) it’s just as good as last year’s group. .
And then there are the young wildcards of Philip Mayaka and Oliver Larraz, who both performed well in the USL last year, as well as recent Superdraft pick Mohamed Omar.
Mayaka, 21, and Larraz, 20, will almost certainly have better chances with the Rapids next season, even if the club decides to add another body in midfield, as the Rapids will have their depth tested by participating in many competitions, CONCACAF Champions League, US Open Cup and of course MLS play.
The Rapids have a plethora of room to make moves, both financially and in actual roster space. All three Designated Player slots are open, and moving Acosta’s $1.1 million team salary frees up even more space with Allocation Money.
The club have already teased new additions, as a source told the Vague de Bourgogne, the Rapids are looking to add a striker and have a shortlist of a few targets, both in and out of MLS.
Losing players after such a successful season for the Rapids seemed almost inevitable, but the Rapids retained most of the roster, while adding huge flexibility to the roster, along with new talent like Max and Aboubacar Keita. The next few weeks should be busy for the Rapids as they continue to prepare for their Champions League season opener on February 17.