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Colorado Rapids sign DP striker Rafael Navarro from Palmeiras | MLSSoccer.com

Colorado Rapids sign DP striker Rafael Navarro from Palmeiras | MLSSoccer.com


The Colorado Rapids have acquired forward Rafael Navarro on a 12-month loan from Brazilian Serie A champions Palmeiras with a purchase option, the club announced Monday.

Navarro, 23, will occupy a Designated Player roster slot in Colorado and is expected to help jumpstart the league’s lowest-scoring offense (16 goals scored in 21 games).  

“We’re thrilled to add a striker of Rafael’s quality to our roster as we continue our push to get back into the playoff race,” Rapids president Pádraig Smith said in a release. 

“Rafael is a talented and tenacious player who will bring a goalscoring threat and experience at the highest levels in South America to the club. We believe he can immediately improve our attacking core and look forward to welcoming him to Colorado.”

Navarro’s fit

Navarro began his professional career with Brazil’s Botafogo in 2020, tallying 18 goals and 10 assists in 63 appearances. He helped them win a Serie B league title and earned promotion back to Serie A.

While at Palmeiras, Navarro recorded 11 goals and four assists in 65 appearances across all competitions while helping them win Brazil’s 2022 top-flight title and the 2022 Recopa Sudamericana. He was stellar in the vaunted Copa Libertadores, tallying eight goals and two assists in 13 appearances.

In 2023, Colorado have utilized various strikers after Gyasi Zardes departed last winter in free agency for Austin FC. Homegrown standout Darren Yapi and 2022 leading scorer Diego Rubio are their most natural No. 9s, though they’ve respectively missed time to the FIFA U-20 World Cup and injury. Cole Bassett, Michael Barrios and Kévin Cabral all have a team-leading two goals this season.

Big picture

Navarro is Colorado’s second Secondary Transfer Window signing this summer after recently acquiring left back Andrew Gutman via a trade with Atlanta United. The window opened July 5 and extends until Aug. 2.

Colorado, the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed in 2021, are chasing an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs return. They’re currently last (14th place) in the Western Conference, eight points off the postseason pace.

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