For extensive grading scale explanations, scroll to the bottom

As we do after every game, here are our game grades for each Colorado Rapids player from Saturday night’s bout in Carson, CA.

Man of the Match

Tim Howard – 8

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Howard was ready anytime the Galaxy tested him. He made the save of the match and one of his best of the year on Zardes. Any other shot he handled masterfully. Shame the marking on the corner wasn’t better, because Howard seemed hard to beat on this day.

Coaching Performance

Pablo Mastroeni – 6

Mastroeni decided to stick with his starting eleven from last week and the results were far different. Possession from the more technical central midfielders wasn’t there, Badji didn’t impact the game and offensively the Rapids didn’t have much of a plan. How much of that falls on the coach and how much on the players is debatable but I’m blaming the players more than the coach on this one.

Goat of the game

Corner defense:

The Rapids have made a season out of hanging tough to one-goal leads this year. For a brief few minutes, it seemed they might be able to grind another close victory. Instead, ball watching and not sticking to marking assignments on a corner completely ended those dreams. Re-watch the goal and you’ll see Le Toux, Miller, and Powers all in the area but mostly just standing and watching as three Galaxy players were in the right corner of the box waiting to put the ball in the net.

Marc Burch – 6

Burch had nowhere close to the impact pushing forward that he did against Vancouver, but he was able to shadow and limit most dangers from Giovani dos Santos down the right flank. The Galaxy’s Mexican star began to impact the game more in the last 30 minutes, but was virtually invisible up until then.

Axel Sjoberg – 6

Sjoberg had close to an impeccable game defensively, played mistake-free and did a nice job covering the much faster Gyasi Zardes.  The big Swede is also right there on the corner kick that Daniel Steres heads back for the LA assist. Sjoberg losing that aerial challenge cost big.

Bobby Burling – 6

Burling had another clean game in the back. There were some counters in which the speed of LA’s offense seemed to bother him but he mostly handled things well.

Eric Miller – 5.5

Miller got caught trying to be too aggressive in intercepting and making tackles in midfield allowing the Galaxy to initiate the counter off these mistakes. He did create push early on and have some nice runs offensively. He’s also one of the culprits on the corner kick.

Sam Cronin – 5.5

Cronin really struggled to contain Steven Gerrard in this game. On the ball, Cronin’s impact was seldom felt and the vet seemed to miss Azira’s presence next to him in marking and creating balance in the formation.

Dillon Powers – 5.5

After a very encouraging debut in central midfield, Powers regressed a bit. The Rapids struggled in possession the entire match and Cronin and Powers were unable to do much if anything about it. Powers’ impact as a deep-lying playmaker was just not there in this match.

Shkelzen Gashi – 7.5

Gashi finds the long distance shot he’d been searching for all season. An amazing strike of huge importance for the team accounts for 90-percent of this grade. Gashi continues to be extremely assertive playing in the central attacking midfield position, specifically in searching for his shot. There were times where his passing would have been welcomed instead of just trying the spectacular outside score.

Marlon Hairston – 7

Made himself dangerous early on, particularly down the right flank where Ashley Cole did not look comfortable staying with him. His fake and pass gave Gashi the space for the goal that Hairston assisted. Why isn’t the grade higher considering all that? The golden opportunity he shot just wide in the first half. On a Doyle cross, Hairston seemed almost surprised to have the ball right in front of a wide open right corner of the net. He missed the type of opportunity that he’s been putting away in the last month or so. His performance and impact keep growing.

Dominique Badji – 5.5

After a terrific game a week ago, Badji was unable to make his presence felt on the field. Runs of open space were missing and he seemed to struggle impacting the game otherwise.

Kevin Doyle – 7

Doyle’s movement was better in this game and he almost had a crucial assist early on to the goal Hairston just missed. The Irish striker also managed to get his shot off more against LA, something he needs to do more of. Quietly one of the better performances of the day.

Sebastien Le Toux – 5.5

Le Toux was actually quite diligent in coverage, helping defend when needed. His impact on the offensive side was simply lacking as even his passing and contributions to the offensive maneuver seemed to be lacking crispness.

Micheal Azira – 5

In a brief 17 minutes of play, Azira did not look good at all. He managed to get a yellow card (a debatable decision) deep in the Galaxy’s side of the field and almost forced a penalty foul. He looked rusty and this was far from his best game.

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.