COMMERCE CITY, CO - OCTOBER 30: Jeff Larentowicz #4 of the Colorado Rapids shows his appreciation for the fans after a game against Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Dick's Sporting Goods Park October 30, 2011 in Commerce City, Colorado. Sporting Kansas City won the game 2-0.(Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)
This offseason, the Burgundy Wave staff will give short reviews on the play of all Colorado Rapids players who received a decent amount of time on the pitch during the season along with a season grade. Starting with Goalkeepers and then moving up the field as necessary from defenders to forwards, today we'll feature Jeff Larentowicz.
Name: Jeff Larentowicz
Appearances: 34 (0)
Stats: 7 goals, 1 assist
He's a ginger ninja! He's a ginger ninja! Larentowicz, oh! Larentowicz...
Of all the problems that Gary Smith had during his tenure as Colorado Rapids manager, he always had one of the best trades in Rapids history to boost him up, getting Jeff Larentowicz for pennies from the New England Revolution. Even in the down year that was 2011, Jeff was absolutely brilliant for the Colorado Rapids.
Not only was his defense as sharp as it always has been, but Jeff's playmaking seemed to improve as well. It was only for a lack of good play on the wings that Jeff's great balls through didn't end in goals more often, and he made up for it by scoring seven goals on his own. He's simply the best direct free kick taker on the team, with a cannon of a shot that always goes low, always goes on frame and almost magically seems to evade the walls of players in the way.
All of this has led to him getting more US Men's National Team call ups, and he's played fairly well in the appearances he's been given. While he's probably a longshot for the 2014 World Cup squad, it would be cool to see him continue to grow as a player into his prime years and get a shot at being the first Rapids player on the US World Cup squad since Pablo Mastroeni's hayday.
If Drew Moor wasn't on the team, Jeff would have been the consensus MVP of the squad. We look forward to seeing him hopefully not be the leading scorer in 2012, but still being a shining defensive player in the midfield who can bang in a direct free kick when needed.
PLAYER RATING: 10