Colorado Rapids 2023 MLS season preview: Tactics, predicted XI, predictions

The Colorado Rapids will look to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2023.

After finishing top of the Western Conference two years ago, the Rapids suffered a slide down the standings last season, finishing 10th and four points below the Playoffs line.

Robin Fraser has strengthened in a number of key areas and will hope the club’s winter business is enough to see them move straight back into the Playoffs.

So, here’s everything you need to know about the Colorado Rapids ahead of the new MLS season, including tactics, key players, and predictions.

Transfers in


Former Club


Kevin Cabral

LA Galaxy


Andreas Maxso

Brondby IF


Connor Ronan



Alex Gersbach



Calvin Harris

FC Cincinnati


Oliver Semmle

Thundering Herd


Moise Bombito

UNH Wildcats


Transfers out


Club Joined


Gyasi Zardes

Austin FC

Free transfer

Philip Mayaka

Crown Legacy FC

Free transfer

Clint Irwin

Minnesota United

Free transfer

Oliver Semmle

Louisville City

Free transfer

Drew Moor


Lucas Estevez


End of loan

Felipe Gutierrez

U. Catolica

End of loan

The Rapids started the year in a 3-4-2-1 system, switching to a 3-5-2 following the arrival of Gyasi Zardes – who has since left for Austin FC. Fraser’s plan involved using the ball to draw the opposition onto them before hitting a big switch of play to open up space.

Halfway through the season Auston Trusty departed for Arsenal and joined Birmingham City on loan, which forced a move to 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 systems. In all set ups, the Rapids rarely looked assured defensively and showed the lack of cutting-edge going forward that has really hurt them in recent years.

The addition of Kevin Cabral should help spice up their attack, while Andreas Maxso’s arrival means Fraser could play three center-backs again if he wants to – though 4-2-3-1 feels more likely – with Colorado once again likely to turn games into low-scoring, tactical affairs.

Colorado Rapids predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Yarbrough; Rosenberry, Maxso, Abubakar, Gersbach; Price, Acosta; Barrios, Bassett, Cabral; Rubio.

Jack Price

If the Rapids are to fight their way back into the Playoffs this season, they’ll need Jack Price healthy for as long as possible. The 30-year-old midfielder missed 13 games throughout 2022 due to various issues and it showed.

At his best, Price – who is the captain and leader of this team – is a supremely talented midfielder who can facilitate Colorado’s switches of play, deliver deadly set pieces, and add plenty of defensive bite.

Price also has a great habit of getting the best out of those around him and is well-liked by teammates and coaching staff alike.

Again, if the Rapids are to have any aspirations this year, they need Price on the field.

There’s no doubting the Rapids enter 2023 stronger with Cabral and Maxso among their key signings and Cole Bassett returning from his loan to the Netherlands – for now at least.

However, they simply don’t seem to have added enough firepower to suggest they can overcome their goalscoring issues from 2022.

Fraser will have this team defensively sound enough to be hard to beat, but converting draws into wins will be an issue which, ultimately, kills their Playoffs chances.

Will Colorado Rapids qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs? No