Tim Howard Would Be an Unnecessary Signing for the Colorado Rapids

Peter Galindo@@GalindoPWFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2016

Everton's goalkeeper Tim Howard during the English Premier League soccer match between Newcastle United and Everton at St James' Park, Newcastle, England, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Scott Heppell/Associated Press

Everton and U.S. men's national team goalkeeper Tim Howard are nearing a deal with the Colorado Rapids, per Jeff Carlisle of ESPN FC.

Despite his recent struggles in the Premier League, Howard would instantly become one of MLS' top shot-stoppers. However, this is still a curious move by the Rapids.

Colorado finished last in Major League Soccer's Western Conference in 2015, although the Rapids defense was formidable. They conceded 43 goals, which was less than Sporting Kansas City and the LA Galaxy, who both made the playoffs.

This still did not stop the Rapids from trading goalkeeper Clint Irwin to Toronto FC. Defender Drew Moor also joined TFC via free agency. Both players were defensive pillars for the past few seasons.

Those two departures weren't even Colorado's strangest decisions. Homegrown defender Shane O'Neill was sold last August.

Deshorn Brown, who led the Rapids in goalscoring in 2013 and 2014, transferred to Norwegian club Valerenga in March 2015. He scored 20 goals over those two seasons. The Rapids finished the 2015 campaign with 33.

Selling young players like Deshorn Brown and Shane O'Neill were curious moves by the Rapids.
Selling young players like Deshorn Brown and Shane O'Neill were curious moves by the Rapids.Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The likes of Kevin Doyle and Luis Solignac arrived last summer to provide a scoring boost, but it wasn't enough.

The Rapids were a playoff team under ex-head coach Oscar Pareja in 2013. They were a young and exciting side with a real future. Nearly three years later, there is no identity and Dick's Sporting Goods Park is virtually empty.

Colorado's average attendance was the lowest in MLS last season, per Paul Kennedy of Soccer America. The number increased from 2014, but it still wasn't sufficient enough to surpass the Chicago Fire.

This is why the Rapids are trying to sign a marquee player.

Colorado was reportedly interested in United States international Alejandro Bedoya and Mexican forward Alan Pulido, according to Goal.com's Ives Galarcep.

However, Bedoya rejected a return to MLS, and Pulido ruled out a transfer to the U.S., per Mexico-based radio station RG 690 (via Mexican soccer journalist Eric Gomez):

Bedoya and Pulido would have been perfect signings for a dull and listless Colorado attack. The Rapids have since acquired Marco Pappa, Zach Pfeffer and Shkelzen Gashi, which should stimulate the offense.

However, the Rapids are still scrambling to sign a big-name star to attract fans to the stadium.

According to Carlisle, Howard will be paid $2 million a year, which would make him one of the 15 highest-paid MLS players. Colorado also has to pay Everton a fee between $600,000 and $750,000.

Considering the Rapids had Irwin, who is a more-than-capable goalkeeper, this just makes the Howard chase all the more peculiar.

The Rapids had a quality goalkeeper in Clint Irwin, but they shockingly traded him to Toronto FC.
The Rapids had a quality goalkeeper in Clint Irwin, but they shockingly traded him to Toronto FC.David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The investment may pay off for the Rapids if this fills the stadium. However, if the team continues to struggle on the field, the fans will likely not show up.

This is not a slight on Howard. His relationship with Everton is waning, and his agility is lacking these days, but the American is still a quality goalkeeper who would excel in MLS.

The main issue is the Rapids addressing a problem they did not have, even after they traded Irwin.

Zac MacMath is a solid young goalkeeper who is a formidable starter. The 24-year-old faced as many shots (125) as Irwin in 2014 and made more saves (77) in 2014, per the official MLS website.

Colorado traded Marcelo Sarvas to D.C. United, even though the Rapids desperately need a quality deep-lying midfielder.

Pappa, Pfeffer, Dillon Serna and Dillon Powers are all attack-minded players. Meanwhile, the likes of Jared Watts and Sam Cronin pale in comparison to Sarvas. This is where Colorado should spend the money, not on a 36-year-old goalkeeper.

Winning is the ultimate formula to fan popularity. The only way of ensuring a successful product on the field is by addressing the team's weaknesses. Goalkeeper is not one of them.

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