Colorado added a young, dynamic player Monday morning as Kellyn Acosta’s move from FC Dallas in exchange for leading scorer Dominique Badji became final. Granted, the Rapids sent their leading goal-scorer elsewhere in the division, however, Acosta is a huge talent that had been lost in the shuffle as of late and should prosper in Head Coach Anthony Hudson’s system.
“What’s important for us is we’re starting to play a certain way-when we get in certain areas of the pitch, we want players who can keep hold of the ball and combine. For the way we’re playing, Kellyn is the perfect type of player that suits how we want to play,” Hudson told The Voice of C38 Monday. “He’s intelligent, he knows the game, he’s an athlete, he’s quick and powerful and gets around the pitch. He’s a young player but an experienced player having played for the National Team in big environments.”
Hudson admits, he understands the doubts of fans after first seeing Joe Mason, and now Badji, leave Colorado, but Anthony has no doubt that Acosta will more than make up for that by creating play along with new man Giles Barnes. “I think he’s going to adapt quickly and we’ve now really got a really good core, a leadership group that are crying out for him to come into the team.”
Another member of the Rapids who has seen his share of talent over the years, and is excited to call Acosta a teammate, is Captain Tim Howard. “I rarely speak about a player the way I speak about Kellyn. I think he is a superstar in the making. I’ve told him, our plan is to heap as much responsibility on his shoulders as possible, to come in and run the show and run the team,” said Howard confidently.
The Colorado captain, and veteran of EPL giants Everton and Manchester United, shared a bit of perspective as to why Acosta has slipped out of the headlines when it comes to FC Dallas. “At Everton, when we have a diamond in the rough he becomes a 20 million-pound asset. What happens in America, when you have a homegrown player they become a fan-favorite but they can get overlooked and teams go outside to try and find players. Now when we look at Kellyn, they play him at right back and we think why was he expendable, but what ends up happening is you get a player like Kellyn who genuinely is a superstar. “
Tim has seen his new club teammate firsthand on the pitch before with the US National Team and is reassuring to any doubters as to whether Acosta can live up to the hype he has seen in the past. “This is a kid who, right when I met him, loves the spotlight. He wants to have the ball, he’s a beautiful runner, Kellyn can defend, he can attack, he’s good on the ball, left and right foot passing is fantastic, a really good freekick taker.”
“He was right on the cusp of breaking into the first eleven with the National Team. He was coming on in the Gold Cup as a massive player for us. He’s just special,” said Tim, who has can spot this kind of influential talent and places Acosta in elite company. “You talk about Christian Pulisic, Timothy Weah, and Kellyn is part of that trifecta of brilliant American players who hopefully will fulfill that potential.”
According to the man himself, Kellyn Acosta is ready to prove himself again and is eager to show his Rapids teammates and Rapids faithful exactly the type of player Howard knows. “I want to get back to enjoying the game again. I think this is the right step I needed to do that,” said the 23yr old former FC Dallas Homegrown player. “I just kind of want to reboot myself and get my legs back and playing how I used to be playing and go from there.”
Hudson is looking for a spark plug in the middle third of the park, and is confident Acosta is just the man even at his young age. “As a young player, when you’re put into the spotlight like he has, when you do that at such a young age, naturally these situations don’t really phase you. I have not question marks about that.”
“He just tells me to play my game,” Kellyn said of his early conversations with the Gaffer. “He’s been watching me for a little bit now, and said he’s excited for me to be here and I’m equally excited. He sees me as a box-to-box, and he said just go out there and be comfortable, do what you do, and help the team as best you can-I’m ready for it.”