Rapid Friday: Acosta traded to LAFC, Bassett reportedly loaned to Feyenoord
January 14, 2022
THE COLORADO RAPIDS were at the center of the American soccer news landscape on Friday when the reigning Western Conference regular season champions saw the departure of two key players – Cole Bassett and Kellyn Acosta, who are both with the U.S. national team for January camp.
Here are some thoughts
Bassett to Feyenoord
While the deal has yet to be announced as of midday Friday, it was widely reported in the Dutch media that Colorado has loaned promising attacking midfielder Cole Bassett to Feyenoord for 18 months which includes the option to buy.
For Bassett, 20, this was a big move, and he will join a strong team that sits third in the Eredivisie (just three points behind second-place Ajax and four points behind PSV). Bassett is coming off a 2021 where he started slowly but then gained steam. He ended up being a big part of the team’s success and Colorado finished first in the regular season in the Western Conference before falling to Portland in the playoffs.
Have fun Feyenoord pic.twitter.com/gNjyMMAyov— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) January 14, 2022
Bassett also had a setback last year when the U-20 World Cup was cancelled as he was expected to be a key part of an impressive group of midfielders including Tanner Tessmann, Gianluca Busio, Johnny Cardoso, Leon Flach, Josh Atencio, and Taylor Booth.
He finished 2021 with five goals and three assists and 13 goals and 8 assists over 70 career first team regular season games.
As one of the best teams in the Eredivisie, Feyenoord is a step up for Bassett and the expectation should be that he needs a period of adjustment moving to a new team, new country, and a new league. He probably will get some minutes this season. Next season Feyenoord will probably give real minutes to Bassett to examine if he is a player they want to buy with the their purchase option.
Looking at his skillset, Bassett is certainly an interesting player. He has a flair for the dramatic and can score impressive goals as well as goals where he is in the right place at the right time. Like a young Michael Bradley, he also makes smart runs into the box.
The test will be for Bassett to show that he can impact a game over 90 minutes, and not just pop up and score – that is a striker’s job. In the Eredivisie he will have to create and constantly be dangerous. Most importantly, he will have to elevate the level of his teammates.
????? | "Een jonge speler die past binnen het beleid dat we bij #Feyenoord hebben ingezet", vertelde Arne Slot eerder vandaag over de komst van Cole Bassett naar De Kuip.— Rijnmond Sport (@RijnmondSport) January 14, 2022
Het intrigeert Emile Schelvis. "Ik zou inderdaad veel eerder aan de onderkant kiezen" pic.twitter.com/Yj2YU9Hm3i
He has the ability to do that. He’s a good player who has made a similar level of impact for Colorado to recent midfield sales out of MLS – his level was about even with Brenden Aaronson, Gianluca Busio during their times with Philadelphia and Sporting Kansas City, respectively.
The test for Bassett will be to adjust quickly. Aaronson had the benefit of working with Jesse Marsch in Salzburg and Busio knew Italy and the Italian language well. Bassett also still has to convince Feyenoord that he is good enough because unlike the other two players, he is only in Holland on loan.
It’s an exciting move for Bassett and another good step for player development in the United States that good teams are eager to take on young American players in MLS.
Acosta traded to LAFC
Later in the day, it was announced that Colorado had traded U.S. national team midfielder Kellyn Acosta to LAFC.
According to the deal, LAFC will send Colorado: “$550,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) in 2022 and $550,000 in GAM in 2023. Colorado could receive up to an additional $400,000 in GAM if certain performance metrics are met and would receive a percentage of a future transfer fee if Acosta is moved outside of MLS or within the league.”
Prior to this trade there had been rumors, albeit unspecified, of European interest in Acosta. But what who were the teams and what were they willing to pay? Acosta’s annual base salary with Colorado is $1 million. That prices him out of most places outside of teams midtable in the top five leagues, or the top teams in maybe Portugal, Belgium, the Championship, the Old Firm, or the Eredivisie.
After the trade, Acosta stirred the pot on twitter when he wrote: “Colorado pushed me out. They had an offer for me on the table for abroad and ongoing interests and opted to trade me..”
This is certainly true. Acosta is a good player and is on the national team for a reason – where he plays predominantly as a backup to Tyler Adams and/or Weston McKennie. There will be interest for an U.S. international who might not be a starter but who is steady. But was this interest equal or better than the LAFC offer?
As for LAFC, having a disgruntled player is certainly a concern but Acosta softened it a bit when with a follow-up tweet.
“To the LAFC fans, I'm excited for the next chapter! I'll give everything I have for the black and gold!”
It is understandable that Acosta wants to move abroad, and his window is closing. On another note, he is making solid money here and it is now possible to have good and respectable careers playing stateside. Like Eddie Pope, Matt Besler, and Kyle Beckerman showed, there will always be good players who don't make the jump. Acosta still might make the jump but if he doesn't, he will be okay. He is past his key developmental years and is the player who he is. For now, he needs to play well and play hard for LAFC.
It certainly was a dramatic transfer. It should help LAFC rebuild its midfield with a proven winner and new manager Steve Cherundolo will need steady professionals in his first year. If Acosta is focused, he will be an asset.
As for Colorado, they have some holes to fill in the coming weeks ahead of the CONCACAF Champions League games to begin its season.
Other Friday notes
Gio Reyna is still not making the bench for Borussia Dortmund and was not in the squad for Friday’s game. Time appears to be running out for him to back for the January windows. He has not played since the September window, which was over four months ago.
Ike Opara has been named as an assistant coach at Sporting Kansas City II. Earlier in the week, Sporting Kansas City announced that former U.S. national team midfielder and SKC veteran Benny Feilhaber would be the coach of SKC II.
U.S. U-20 eligible attacker Patrick Bohui has signed with Vejle Boldklub - currently last in the Danish Superliga. Bohui was born in the Ivory Coast in 2003 and developed at the Philadelphia Union academy before moving to FC Cincinnati. He has also represented the United States at the U-16 level. His first contract will send him to a club in desperate need of offense as it is deep in the relegation hole of the Danish Superliga.