For extensive grading scale explanations, scroll to the bottom

The Colorado Rapids showed character and grit, coming back from their worst loss of the season and getting a vital three points in a home. As we do every week, here are BSN Rapids game grades from this Saturday’s game for every Colorado player.

Man of the Match

Marlon Hairston – 9

Hairston did everything. He covered and pressed fiercely down the sidelines creating some dangerous turnovers. He was also impactful on the ball and made lots of dangerous runs down the wing. It was impossible not to notice him. He also tallied a goal (his third in four games) and added an assist, making this the highest grade yet of our brief grading history.

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Coaching Performance

Pablo Mastroeni – 8.5

Mastroeni gets rewarded majorly for having motivated his team the right way and making crucially important changes. It’s never easy to make changes halfway through a great season, especially down a formations spine. That’s exactly what the Rapids skipper did, putting in Bobby Burling and changing Dillon Powers and Shkelzen Gashi’s positions to great results. Now the question is, will Pablo stick with these new changes?

Goat of the game

In a game that coach Mastroeni called “probably the best performance of the year,” there were truly no mistakes in the game. Giving a player the Goat of the game award is unfair here. You can see who has the lowest grade but no one was a goat in this true team win.

Tim Howard – 7

Rarely tested but up to the task the few times he was, Howard’s grade is earned by how he passed the ball in all the right spots, initiating possession cleanly for Colorado.

Marc Burch – 7

A big game for Burch. The Rapids defender was flawless in cover but really did damage when pushing up offensively. The first assist is a testament of that. Night and day from a week ago in New York.

Axel Sjoberg – 7

Sjoberg, like Howard was rarely tested, but he did what he does: Headed anything in the zip code of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, had composed clearances and was always up to the test defensively.

Bobby Burling – 8

Burling’s return was very noticeable. The perfect complement to Sjoberg, he was flawless on the ball and very effective in cover. While Watts held down the fort for a while, it’s Burling who makes this defense one of the league’s best. Burling was key to one of the best and most mistake-free performances you’ll see from an MLS backline.

Eric Miller – 7

Like Burch, Miller was reborn against Vancouver. He did everything right and even led Hairston in space perfectly for him to deliver the second assist. Games like this are why Miller was such a touted player early in his career.

Sam Cronin – 7

Cronin looked really good with Powers by his side. He was able to focus a bit more on covering and was also able to find more space in possession as the Whitecaps had to focus their attention on Powers. Defensively, he was a tackling machine. A trademark performance.

Dillon Powers – 7.5

Powers had a really nice game and looked natural put back in central midfield. He acted as a playmaker, initiating possession with lots of success and pushing up at the right times to add extra men in the final third. He held up nicely and also covered well defensively. Might be his best game in a while.

Shkelzen Gashi – 8

Gashi was almost a different player in the number ten role, playing centrally behind Doyle. He asserted himself early and often and was credited with eight shots and six chances created. The goals will come if he keeps asserting himself and creating danger. Gashi playing centrally seemed to open up more space on the wings for the attack to operate, a key component of the Rapids victory.

Dominique Badji – 7

Badji played a nice game. He ran down the flank all day, did his best to create danger in space and was also good in creating high pressure. The added goal was a deserved reward for his hard work. He’s a useful weapon for Mastroeni and compliments Gashi centrally and Hairston on the opposite wing nicely. With those three the team plays a purer 4-2-3-1.

Kevin Doyle – 6.5

Of all the players, Doyle was maybe the most absent. His positioning and movement still created difficulties for the Vancouver defense. Not as influential as you might want but in a game like this it wasn’t really necessary.

Sebastien Le Toux – 6

Not a bad first appearance for Le Toux, who came in for Badji at the 74-minute mark. He came back and did his job in cover, while also creating a few threats in attack. A promising first appearance.

Marco Pappa – N/A

Pappa had little time with the game in hand and only 6-minutes of actual playing time to make an impact.

Jared Watts – N/A

Played in extra time.

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.

Born in Boulder and raised in Milan, Italy like Danilo Gallinari. Also like Gallo, I moved to the States at 18; unlike Gallo, I wasn’t drafted by the Knicks but came to attend Western State Colorado University (go Mountaineers!). I graduated in 2009 with a major in Communications and Media and two minors in Journalism and Philosophy. After working in the linguistic field for a few years and listening to sports radio ALL DAY at work, I decided to do it myself and it changed my life around. (Now, I can say I couldn’t be happier and am proudly married to the love of my life Kate.) I moved back to Gunnison and started volunteering for the NPR affiliate up in Crested Butte, while also starting to contribute on an NFL podcast for playitusa.com. A 10 minute bit on one podcast turned into being a regular, year-round on three different podcasts on the NFL, College Football, and the NFL Draft. I’ve since started writing on trueblueblog.net and playitusa.com as well as writing in depth Draft analysis for footballnation.it in the past 3 years. I love the Draft and knowing the stars of the future before everyone else. My sports mount Rushmore is Terrell Davis, Patrick Roy, Italian soccer star Roberto Baggio, and John Elway, deal with it! Hit me up at @andresimone to talk NFL, NCAA football, NFL Draft, CSU football, Nuggets or anything else Colorado or Italy sports related.

  • EMF

    Excited for the Rapids coverage. Thanks!