EDITORIAL – Last week, the Colorado Rapids announced right back Jeremy Kelly and Andre Rawls would be going on loan for the season to USL Championship side Phoenix Rising FC. Either player can be recalled from this loan at anytime by Colorado. These are the first of several USL loans for the Rapids. Let’s take a look at what it means for the club and players affected.
Jeremy Kelly and Andre Rawls Phoenix Rising Loans Analysis
Andre Rawls has spent the last two years with Colorado after three years at New York City FC. He’s yet to make his MLS debut. At 29-years-old, his ceiling is probably that of an MLS backup. This loan will allow him to compete playing time. His three previous stints in the USL led to starting regularly. That will make him more ready if needed back in Colorado. This will give him another chance to prove he can play well in USL for a potential future contract.
Meanwhile, the Rapids goal is well guarded by William Yarbrough and Clint Irwin. Homegrown Abraham Rodriguez is likely to serve as the third choice goalkeeper in training. He will get to work daily with goalkeeper coach Chris Sharpe. Both have said in the past they enjoy working together and are productive. The goalkeeper who’s at an age where he needs to play gets playing time. The two starting caliber goalkeepers get to compete for playing time. The club gets to keep an eye on its 18-year-old academy graduate who might need productive training more than second division playing time.
Jeremy Kelly played in eight games last year and was serviceable behind Keegan Rosenberry. He’s looked the part in terms of being a contributing member to MLS. It’s still unknown whether he can be a quality MLS starter or is just a bench player. At this point in his career, he needs challenging but guaranteed playing time. Rosenberry will start most games and another player can play the 500-ish minutes at the right back role. That could be Sebastian Anderson or even Kortne Ford who played at right back in 2018. Kelly is going to one of the best run clubs in the USL, racism issues of last year not withstanding.
Both players will get to play for a club aspiring to win a championship in the second division. Kelly should start at right back and get lots of game film for improvement and evaluation. Phoenix is getting two players who should easily add value and depth at the back. As discussing on Holding The High Line last week, he Rapids have players, albeit less proven players, who can fill in for the minor roles that are voided with Rawls and Kelly gone. These Phoenix Rising loans are a win-win in 2021 for all parties involved. .