Kellyn Acosta to Colorado Rapids for Dominique Badji: What it means

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (July 23, 2018) – As first reported by the SportsDay Dallas News, Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas have made a trade, swapping Kellyn Acosta for Dominique Badji and some other assets.

Kellyn Acosta to Colorado Rapids for Dominique Badji: What it means

Acosta has been widely regarded as one of the up-and-coming Homegrown talents in MLS and the player pool for the United States Men’s National Team. The 22-year-old didn’t cover himself in glory in the 2017 Gold Cup though. He’s been a sub in four of the last five league games for Dallas.

On the other side, Badji has had a productive season despite the struggles Colorado has had overall. He leads the team in goals with 7, including scoring a hattrick against Philadelphia Union. He’s been productive with the service he’s gotten and he hasn’t lost a step in the new system under Anthony Hudson.

Transaction: Colorado Rapids have acquired midfielder Kellyn Acosta and the natural 1st and 2nd Round 2019 MLS SuperDraft picks from FC Dallas in exchange for forward Dominique Badji, an international roster spot for 2018 and 2019, and Colorado’s natural 1st Round 2019 MLS SuperDraft pick. Additionally, FC Dallas will retain 50% of the transfer fee should Colorado sell Acosta internationally before or during the 2020 secondary transfer window.

Full name: Kellyn Acosta
Position: Midfielder
Born: 07/25/1995 (22 years old)
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 150 lbs.
Last Club: FC Dallas
Hometown: Plano, TX
Birthplace: Plano, TX

What Colorado loses:

The big question right now is who’s going to score the goals. With Badji and Joe Mason (who combined for 10 of Colorado’s 24 goals so far) both gone, the highest goalscorers are center back Tommy Smith, wingback Edgar Castillo, and forward Jack McBean. All have two goals. The high priced Shkelzen Gashi and Yannick Boli both have one goal each, both from the penalty spot.

It’s unclear at this point who is ready to step up. Boli has done some good work in possession but has been ineffective in the final third. After this past Saturday, McBean has tied his season high in goals, with two. By salary and expectation, it should be Boli as the No. 9 and Gashi playing from midfield.

The club does still have an open DP slot.

What Colorado gains:

FC Dallas Manager Oscar Pareja is a player’s coach. There’s no way Acosta was moved without his approval and him having a say in the outcome. He wasn’t playing that much of late in Frisco and perhaps he wanted a change of scenery. I’ve got a growing theory that MLS has a lot of decent players in bad situations where they’re playing for the wrong coach or on the wrong team.

I doubt Acosta’s situation was toxic, but I do think a clean slate at a new club will help him play closer to his 2016-17 form than his 2018 form. If he can play well the next few years, the Rapids could easily sell him to Europe for seven figures.

An in-form Kellyn Acosta is one of the best young center midfielders in MLS. He’s solid defensively and can distribute the ball well. He could easily form a midfield partnership with Jack Price as good or better than the 2016 Michael Azira-Sam Cronin partnership.

That said, the midfield is getting crowded. Hudson has recently started center back Danny Wilson as a No. 6. The team also has Nana Boateng, Azira, Gashi, and Sam Nicholson who’re all primarily center midfielders for Hudson. And that’s not including midfielder Johan Blomberg, who’s been a right wingback the last few games.

The Rapids are also in desperate need of some central chance creation, something newcomer Giles Barnes can bring. Does Hudson see Acosta as the No. 10 who can resolve the club’s midfield troubles?

I don’t see Acosta as having the skill set to make that happen this year and probably next year. It also wouldn’t surprise me if this is what the front office and coaching staff were thinking when they inquired about Acosta’s availability.

The outlook is hazy. Regardless of what role Acosta will play, he’ll need to play well if the Rapids are to somehow make the playoffs.