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 Friday night’s match at Real Salt Lake.

Man of the Match

Tim Howard – 8.5

Howard’s big play was a spectacular penalty kick save that kept the Rapids in the game when they had no business being in it. He also had a wonderful save on a curling Yura Movsisyan shot. It’s hard to argue that without Howard, Movsisyan would have had at least a hat-trick.

Coaching Performance

Pablo Mastroeni – 5

From a motivational standpoint, Mastroeni couldn’t get his troops back into the flow of things after the tying goal. Tactically, Mastroeni gambled with an extremely offensive lineup in a tough away match and lost. The tactic of giving up possession, with so much offensive firepower, seemed debatable and limited Colorado in clawing out of their hole.

Goat of the game

Eric Miller – 5

Miller had a rough outing. No matter who was on his flank he struggled mightily. When matched against ‘Burrito’, he conceded a penalty and got dribbled out of his shoes in the box. He struggled to contain Joao Plata down the flank as the game wore on and was a guilty party on both goals allowed. Millar was under fire and didn’t get the best support.

The Rest

Marc Burch – 5

Burch, much like Miller, had his struggles as Salt Lake really began to put on the pressure out wide. The veteran full-back got called for a debatable penalty. As the game wore on, he began to allow more space down his wing and was limited in his support offensively.

Bobby Burling – 6

In a rough outing for the Rapids defense, Burling had a steady performance. He made some superb defensive plays early on and hung tough trying to get in front of shots and be an aerial presence in the box.

Axel Sjoberg – 5.5

Sjoberg wasn’t himself. He turned the ball over on a headed clearance that was so atypical you just knew he wasn’t going to have a great game. He struggled to come forward and stop initiation of play, while also falling for Movsisyan’s fake on the decisive second goal.

Sam Cronin – 5

As much talk as there is and should be about Colorado’s offensive struggles, the midfield has had some real issues lately. Cronin has lost some of his bite. When the away team needed it, they just couldn’t seem to gain possession back and that falls on the captain.

Dillon Powers – 5

Like Cronin, Powers is guilty of losing the possession battle in midfield. After a promising start playing in Azira’s place, he’s had issues getting forward and pulling the strings in midfield.

Shkelzen Gashi – 5.5

So the Rapids Designated Player got a goal, that’s the one positive. He was involved, he tried to get things going, but his first touch, his ability to take on defenders, and create any sort of advantage for the attack was missing. Gashi with a few others needs to step up and take charge for Colorado to have any sort of long-term success.

Dominique Badji – 6

Badji had the play of the game as far as the Rapids attack is concerned. The way he took on the entire RSL defense and his dynamite shot that even Nick Rimando couldn’t contain was a beauty to see leading to the goal and Gashi tip-in. The rest of the match, Badji was absent and did not give Miller much support defensively.

Kevin Doyle – 5.5

Doyle tried to get vertical and got called offside early on when he was clearly not. He was an integral part of the attack when the Rapids got forward but struggled as his service and opportunities dried up quickly with the continuation of the game.

Marco Pappa – 6

Pappa was one of the few forwards who tried to take on defenders, face goal, and at least get some shots off. He was also a part of the Rapids quick-passing offense that worked in the first 30.

Caleb Calvert – 6

The youngster, who promises to be an interesting part of the Rapids future, was put into a tough spot and fought his hardest. He got a shot on goal, got into the box and tried to get a few passes in. A good appearance after a very good stretch of play in Charlotte.

Micheal Azira – 6

Azira coming on at least helped in getting possession back and trying for a late push. It might just be time to get Azira back, something the defense would certainly appreciate and Cronin likely would too.

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.