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Back In Black (and Blue)
Denver, CO - Tossed aside by Tim Hankinson a year ago, Fernando Clavijo has reclaimed striker Chris Carrieri for the Rapids.

Carrieri has proven himself in the past as a very capable striker that can produce assists as well as goals. After begging drafted by San Jose, he was later traded to the Rapids in 2001. In his first season at Colorado, he archived 14 points in 14 games. Carrieri's most impressive year was 2002; playing 25 games, he led the team in scoring with 11 goals and 5 assists for 27 points. 2003 was a mixed bag for Carrieri, with relations between coach and player souring he wasn't a regular starter, managing 3 goals and 8 assists.

Carrieri is very passionate about his play. He has been known to shoot off his mouth if he doesn't like the way things are going. This kind of aggressive outspokenness never sat well with Tim Hankinson. It is very likely that Carrieri was waived purely because of his attitude, but his brand of passion can be very useful if managed properly.

Carrieri spent the 2004 season playing in the A-League for the Rochester Raging Rhinos. During his single season with the Rhinos, he scored 6 goals and achieved 8 assists for a total of 20 points. He then played the rest of year with the Chicago Storm of the MISL as a midfielder, tallying 5 goals and 8 assists in 14 games.

The addition of yet another attacker shows evidence that Clavijo has offense in mind. The Rapids now have a decent choice of forwards to choose from. This list of contenders already includes Pedro, Martinez, Delgado, Cila, and most recently Cunningham. There is also possibly even another striker joining the Rapids, Luchi Gonzalez.

Clavijo appears to be striving for improvement through depth, excellent news for fans who didn't like the conservative play the Hankinson favored. The competition of these 6 (possibly 7) attackers for the starting spot will likely improve the quality of offence produced by the team.

At face value, Pedro, Carrieri, and Cunningham are the top contenders for starting spots. Martinez and Delgado are both solid, but are not the most technically gifted, but they can surprise. They most likely there to keep depth in case a starter sees injury. Cila and Gonzalez are both still young and will likely not be starting often, but surrounded by more experienced strikers will have a great chance to learn their game and refine their skills.

Despite the continuing additions to the front of the attack, there is still a major unanswered question. What does Fernando Clavijo have in mind for this midfield? The Rapids still have the same midfield from 2004 that is suffering from attacking inexperience in the center and age on the wings. Will he add any depth the center of the park? It is possible with the extended trade window, but in the meantime fans will have to remain content with the glut of new forwards.
January 31, 2005 Patrick Quinn


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Top Ten Scorers
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