For extensive grading scale explanations, scroll to the bottom. Four our game recap click here.
As we do after every game, here are our game grades for each Colorado Rapids player from Saturday night’s match against Orlando City SC.
Man of the Match
Axel Sjoberg – 8
Sjoberg was back in full form. He put a muzzle on one of the league’s best strikers in Cyle Larin. The Orlando star’s speed didn’t bother the Rapids’ big Swede, who was always in good position. Sjoberg didn’t just handle Larin when he made the game physical, he outmuscled him the entire contest and dominated the aerial battle.
Pablo Mastroeni – 6.5
Mastroeni’s starting lineup seemed to be the right one, they just couldn’t get that decisive shot or pass. The Rapids skipper had his side ready to play in the second half, pushing forward and trying hard to get that elusive goal. Shame it didn’t arrive.
Goat of the game
Sebastien Le Toux – 5.5
Le Toux didn’t play a bad game, he was just a bit absent. He covered well and didn’t risk any numerical disadvantages defensively. He also tentatively pushed forward and did have a few passes in the attacking half that were useful. For the most part, his services didn’t get through and he just didn’t make his presence felt going forward.
Tim Howard – 6.5
After a big-time performance against the LA Galaxy, Howard didn’t have to do much at all against Orlando. As always, he barked orders out the back and contributed to an organized defense that was close to flawless.
Marc Burch – 5.5
Burch had a very impactful role in the match. At points it seemed like most of the Rapids opportunities went through him, as Orlando left plenty of space down the left wing. The left-back was simply unable to make the best of the countless crosses he took. Burch, ultimately, was a big contributor to Colorado never quite finding that decisive final pass.
Bobby Burling – 7
Burling continues to be mister clean on the field. He didn’t make a mistake in possession and was efficient defensively. Just another solid game from a pro’s pro.
Eric Miller – 6.5
Miller was able to push forward some but without doing anything worth noting. He did, however, lock down the right flank, completely limiting Orlando on that wing and making Kaka a non-factor when playing wide.
Sam Cronin – 6
Cronin handled his midfield duties well before being substituted in the 81st minute. The captain has looked comfortable playing as the more defensive-minded midfielder alongside Powers.
Dillon Powers – 6
Powers did an excellent job in possession but little more than that. A deep-lying midfielder with his qualities should make a difference with his passing and occasional offensive movement. Powers didn’t do enough of either, ultimately creating little danger.
Shkelzen Gashi – 6
Gashi was part of the offensive maneuvering of the team but had a limited impact. His free kicks never seemed to break through. The gifted midfielder had a great chance that ricocheted off an opposing player and bounced off the post. Not his most decisive performance.
Marlon Hairston – 6.5
Hairston was often in the middle of the action. He continues to be a real menace pressing high when defending in the opposing third. The young Rapids winger had some nice runs and created his chances. He was just never able to put the decisive pass or shot through, much like the rest of the team.
Kevin Doyle – 7
Doyle really began to take over the game towards the end of the first half, being aggressive in pressing up and getting himself in front of goal. He rarely seemed to get a clean shot with Orlando on point with its last-second tackling. Colorado’s No. 9 also forced the biggest foul, and arguably chance, of the game, on the yellow-card that looked red to the home crowd.
Marco Pappa – 6.5
Pappa only played 15 minutes but his presence was felt. He came deeper to get the ball and act as a playmaker to initiate the attack. Pappa also created a great chance by dribbling by his defender and shooting just wide at the edge of the penalty area.
Micheal Azira – 6
Azira only played nine minutes but he looked much better than he did against LA and overall looked like himself again.
Dominique Badji – N/A
Badji played only a minute.
Explaining the grading scale:
As opposed to the standard letter grading scale that is used in other American sports, we’ll be using a numerical grading scale 1-10. This is already the standard for MLS, though this is not some player index formula. What we are using here is the Italian grading scale, one that is used across European media for grading games.
Generally speaking, the scale is as follows:
10 – Historically great game, a truly special or monumental performance. This grade will rarely if ever be given.
9 – A dominant performance. Being a constant menace and producing.
8 – A man-of-the-match-caliber game.
7 – A very good game.
6 – A professional game. Playing per expectations but nothing more.
5 – An insufficient game.
4 – A truly awful performance, a fairly rare grade.
1-3 – are varying degrees of horrible, this will only be given if a player commits an absurd foul or several costly blunders.