Mar 15, 2014; Chester, PA, USA; Philadelphia Union defender Austin Berry (4) passes the ball during the first half of the game against the New England Revolution at PPL Park. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
The injury bug has bitten the Colorado Rapids hard. Captain and defender Drew Moor is gone for the rest of the season. Jared Watts will miss a few weeks with a Grade 1 hamstring strain he sustained last week against the LA Galaxy. Center back Shane O’Neill has been out since injuring his knee against the Philadelphia Union on July 12.
Due to these injuries and other, the Colorado Rapids have been stretched thin recently and it has shown in their recent matches. In the midst of trying to keep the playoff spots close, they could use some reinforcements. One of those options is Union center back Austin Berry.
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The former Fire defender has played very little for the Union lately. With the return of Carlos Valdes to town and Ethan White showing his worth interim team manager Jim Curtin has elected to keep Berry out of the starting XI, and even the 18, at times. Likewise, Amobi Okugo and Maurice Edu who featured at midfield last weekend can both play center back as well.
This season Berry has started in six matches. Those were all under former manager John Hackworth. Berry’s last appearance for the Union was against the New England Revolution on May 17th.
The MLS roster freeze is on September 15th. Teams looking to make a late playoff push will be looking to acquire some worthwhile talent before September 15th. Berry is a viable option for teams looking to bolster their defense. The Rapids are one of the teams that could do just that. It doesn’t appear the Union would balk at the proposition of trading Berry. He’s been an unused sub for 12 straight league games.
In addition to being behind the center back options above, Richie Marquez is another defender whose primary role is center back. Currently, the 2014 MLS SuperDraft third round selection is on loan at Harrisburg City Islanders and can be recalled at anytime. Philadelphia is smartly allowing him to get valuable playing time with Harrisburg.
Should Philadelphia get in a bind and need depth defensively, they can always recall Marquez. Berry is on my count no. 6 center back on the Union’s depth chart. For the thin Colorado back-line, he could be a starter. With the Rapids still treading water in the playoff picture, they need to acquire someone in order to fix their defensive holes.
Austin Berry can be that guy. He’s become a dust collector on the Union’s bench, but in Colorado he could be the reason for reaching this year’s playoff.
Don’t be surprised if Colorado is on the phone with Philadelphia as September and the roster freeze deadline approaches. He’s an unneeded commodity right now for the Union, but fills a a desperate need in Colorado.