It’s been a poorly held secret for a week now, many media outlets have claimed confirmation, but today the Rapids have confirmed that they have acquired the rights to Jeff Larentowicz and Wells Thompson.
Yesterday’s trade of Jacob Peterson to Toronto F.C. was the just the start. The Rapids finished the day by completing the trade of Cory Gibbs and Preston Burpo to the New England Revolution. In return the Revolution are sending Wells Thompson and the rights to Jeff Larentowicz to the Rapids. The allocation money received for Jacob Peterson turned out to be the additional grease needed to get the deal done.
The trade provides the Rapids with the rights to central midfielder Jeff Larentowicz. The move creates a potential logjam in central midfield where Pablo Mastroeni, Nick LaBrocca, Mehdi Ballouchy, Greg Dalby, and occasionally Pat Noonan, ply their trade. Larentowicz has played as a defensive midfielder in New England filling a role similar to Pablo Mastroeni’s here in Colorado.
At this point the Rapids do not actually have Larentowicz on the books. Larentowicz is out of contract, it has been rumored that he wishes to secure a position abroad. The move over-seas may be in doubt as Jeff suffered an injury in the U.S. National Team’s training camp that will keep him out of action for the near future. It is unclear if Larentowicz will opt to stay in MLS or wait until his injury heals before trying out for a foreign club. The Rapids may have to wait for Larentowicz to try out Europe or Scandinavia before returning to MLS, but the wait may give the team time to clear the logjam in his preferred part of the field.
The focus of the trade will be on Jeff Larentowicz, who just came off his best season in MLS, but the other player, Wells Thompson, has the better chance of making an immediate impact. Thompson plays as an outside midfielder, the position where lack of depth killed the Rapids play-off run. While the Rapids lost one of their outside mids, the injured Jacob Peterson, they have gained an uninjured Wells Thompson. The acquisition gives some much needed depth in the outside position.
While the acquisition of Larentowicz could create a logjam in midfield, the trading away of Cory Gibbs alleviates a logjam in central defense. With Gibbs the Rapids had Julien Baudet, Drew Moor, Scott Palguta, Ty Harden, Mike Holody, and Rob Valentino all competing for the two spots in central defense. While many of those players are clearly second choice to Baudet, Moor, and Palguta, they provide plenty of potential and depth.
The loss of Preston Burpo means the Rapids will be left with Steward Ceus as the backup to Matt Pickens. That role could be critical as Burpo has played significant minutes over the last two season. A role that he did a satisfactory job in filling. Should Pickens get hurt, the second year Ceus will find himself called upon to fill the hot-seat. The Rapids are showing a lot of faith in Ceus by making this trade.
In addition to the players and the allocation funds the Rapids have traded a draft pick to complete the deal.
Update and correction
The Rapids have reported that Jeff Larentowicz has signed a contract with MLS. MLS does not disclose contract details.
Boston Pro Soccer Examiner, Lisa Eisenmenger, sent me a correction. Jeff Larentowicz’s knee injury was not suffered with the US team, but had been a lingering issue. The injury forced Larentowicz to miss many practices in the summer and fall of 2009.