This offseason, UZ will give a short review 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 go with Kosuke Kimura.
Name: Kosuke Kimura
Appearances: 21 (2)
Stats: 3 A, 1 G (in the playoffs)
Oh no, he comes from Tokyo, Kosuke Kimura!
Kosuke Kimura is one of the hardest working players in MLS. Drafted originally as a supplemental pick - the first ever Japanese player to be picked for an MLS squad - after being forced out of Japan's football programs and quickly learning English to get his shot with an American team, he has always had the biggest heart on the squad. The fact that he has begun to grow into the talent to go with his attitude makes the position of right back for the Rapids look very exciting for the short term future as long as Koz sticks around.
Having played most of his career as a spot starter for Colorado it didn't look very likely that Koz would be the big answer at right back that the Rapids needed, and early on in the season he was mixed around a lot with Marvell Wynne and Drew Moor in that position. Eventually the defensive corps solidified and Kosuke found himself as the every day starter in his position with Moor and Wynne playing so well in the center. Immediately, Kosuke rose to the challenge. With his defense being the biggest knock on him previously - him being a great guy to come forward and provide great service into the box - he worked to the point where he was no longer a weak link but a guy we would look to as a leader in the back.
By the time the playoffs hit, Kosuke was in the best form of his career both defensively and offensively. In the Eastern conference championship his fantastic speed and defense were one of the biggest reasons that the team kept a clean sheet. He also scored what might have been at that point the most important goal in Rapids history, a bit of magic as a wonderful cross bounced perfectly to reach the net while fooling everyone on the San Jose defense.
If Kosuke leaves for Japan as I predicted earlier, it will be a great loss for the Rapids organization as Kosuke is the true epitome of a fan favorite. He is a man who lives and breathes the game of football while never taking a day off but who has the talent and grit to match that attitude. It is good to know that a man like Kosuke will be manning the right side of the defense next year. And if he decides to stick around with the organization longer than I expect he will, it will be a pleasure seeing him play through the prime years of his career in burgundy.
PLAYER RATING: 8