Skip to content

MLS Western Conference: Riqui Puig claps back, Luchi is out & more on each team

We’re dissecting every MLS team in the Western Conference.

16 min read

Welcome back our two-part weekly MLS column here at Backheeled, where we break down all 29 teams in the league.

I’ve got the West. The sharp and knowledgable Justin Horneker’s got the East today while Ben Wright enjoys a well-earned vacation. The Quakes got rid of their coach.

Let’s chat about the latest for each Western Conference squad, shall we?

To read up on the East, check out Justin’s rundown.

MLS Eastern Conference: Charlotte FC’s DP pileup, the Revs get embarrassed & more on each team
We’re dissecting every MLS team in the Eastern Conference.

Austin FC

Result: 2-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City

After a quiet first two transfer windows leading the front office, sporting director Rodolfo Borrell has already put pen-to-paper on three signings ahead of the nearing summer window.

There’s DP winger Osman Bukari. There’s fullback Mikkel Desler, who played nearly 4,000 minutes for a mid-table Ligue 1 team over the last couple seasons. And now there’s center back Oleksandr Svatok. The 29-year-old Ukrainian defender started for his country against Belgium at the Euros and captained his club team, Ukrainian domestic side SC Dnipro-1. He’s never played outside of Ukraine and Croatia.

Expectations should be measured for Svatok once he arrives, but he’ll fill a position of need next to Brendan Hines-Ike in the middle of Josh Wolff’s backline. Austin are shaping up to be a much-improved outfit come July 18th.

Looking to the field, I caught Austin FC’s visit to Children’s Mercy Park in the flesh on Saturday. Wolff used his trusty 4-2-3-1, but his team struggled to create much of anything notable in the attack. That’s how it goes with Austin these days. I’m starting to think that the best version of Austin FC just might involve them adding a DP No. 10 and shifting Sebastian Driussi to a box-crashing narrow-winger role. 

They need someone to pull the strings — that player isn’t Driussi and won’t be Bukari, either.

Colorado Rapids

Result: 3-0 loss at LAFC

I couldn’t feel more lukewarm about the Colorado Rapids’ decision to sign Rafael Navarro on a permanent deal. 

It’s a fine move. It makes sense. The Rapids don’t spend money, so it’s nice to see their ownership drop a few million bucks on a 24-year-old striker from Palmeiras. But is Navarro a DP-level striker? I don’t think so. He’s got seven non-penalty goals in 1,600 minutes this year. He’ll hit 12 or so non-penalty goals every season between now and when his deal ends in a few years.

It’s a very Colorado Rapids DP signing.

This post is for paid subscribers


Already have an account? Log in