It was a deal months in the making but no matter what, the Colorado Rapids were going to find a way to land Kellyn Acosta.
“When we took over the running of the club last January we wanted to make a statement move,” said Rapids Executive Vice President and GM Padraig Smith. “I think we were very clear with the type of team we wanted to be. We wanted to be a perineal playoff team. We wanted to be a team that played attacking, exciting futbol and with urgency and boldness and intensity and Kellyn Acosta ticks all those boxes.”
Acosta is a 22-year-old rising star on the U.S. Men’s National team and a nearly six-year vet for FC Dallas. When the Rapids first reached out to FCD in January, they said they weren’t in a position to trade away their prized player. Then five weeks ago, FCD contacted the Rapids with interest in striker and leading scorer Dominique Badji.
“We said we had a very simple asking price. We didn’t want to move Dom. We were in no rush to move Dom. So we said listen, we’ll think about it, but only if Kellyn Acosta is there as part of the deal.”
Still, FCD wouldn’t budge. They gave Colorado six other offers, but the Rapids turned them all down.
The turning point came when the Rapids informed them that Badji was in the process of landing his green card, and therefore, wouldn’t take up an international spot on their roster once the green card was obtained.
Then came the final details of the trade.
Throw in an international roster spot, swap first round picks of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft (Colorado also lands FC Dallas’ second-round selection), with each team retaining 50% of any international transfer value through the 2020 secondary transfer window, and there you have it – Kellyn Acosta is now a member of the Colorado Rapids.
“It’s hard to lose Dom, it really is, but it’s harder to find a player of Kellyn’s caliber. And I think by bringing him in, it’s another step in the right direction for us as a club.”
The plan is to have Acosta as their No. 8, or a central/attacking midfielder, starting tomorrow when the Rapids take on Boca Juniors at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“We want him to be that box-to-box midfielder and help us on both sides of the ball,” said Smith.
“That’s a position that I enjoy playing and I love to do,” said Acosta. “Just try to help on both sides of the ball. Limit the goals obviously and be productive offensively and score some goals, tallying in some assists, and do whatever I can to help bring some wins.”
The move marks a fresh start for Acosta, a Plano, Texas, native who started his career as a member of the FC Dallas Development Academy a decade ago. In his five-and-a-half seasons with the first team, Acosta has registered 8 goals and 12 assists in 115 MLS appearances.
His international resume is even more impressive with 17 caps and one goal in a 2-1 victory over Ghana on July 1, 2017.
Despite all of his early successes, the last year has been full of tests and trials for Acosta, including a sports hernia surgery last February.
“No one wants to suffer injury and having the surgical procedure is obviously not ideal but that’s part of the game,” Acosta said. “I’m just trying to get back to the old me, where I’m enjoying the game, playing freely, hopefully scoring goals and tallying assists.”