After 17 matches the Colorado Rapids are mired in last place in the Western Conference with no real hope on the horizon that things will turn around for them. It certainly has been a lost season for them, but we here at Burgundy Wave want to take a look at each position on the pitch and this is your look at The Central Midfielders at the midpoint of the season.
The Central Midfielder Statistics:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||SOG|
Marcelo Sarvas: Grade B-
Sarvas has turned into the leader on the pitch that the Rapids have needed this year and things seemed to be running more smoothly on the pitch with him out there. He has played primarily a more defensive midfielder role for the Rapids this year but has also seen time as a Central Attacking Midfielder in the preferred 4-2-3-1 formation that the Rapids are fond of running.
Sarvas has only played in 10 games this year and has been limited by injury but it is quite clear that the Rapids are better when he is on the field. He is able to boss the midfield whether he is with Cronin, Pittinari or LaBrocca back there as his partner, but one has to wonder how much a player like Sarvas has left. He is one of the older players on the pitch and seems to struggle late in matches especially after 75 minutes. That being said, having a veteran presence on the pitch has helped to settle the midfield and the Rapids are significantly better defensively than they were at this point last year.
For the second have of the year I would like Sarvas to assert himself more on the field and rally the players to perform at their highest level. It is easy to say that Pablo Mastroeni should be fired as a coach, but the players have a good deal of culpability in this as well. Sarvas needs to get these guys motivated and playing well as professionals and take the leadership role that the Rapids are clearly missing.
Sam Cronin: Grade B-
Cronin, like Sarvas, was brought in to help boss the midfield and has done that and has also served as Captain in place of Drew Moor from time to time. Cronin has scored one goal against Portland in a 2-1 loss to the Timbers and, again, has helped to solidify the midfield and has made the Rapids more difficult to break down and score against.
Although things are better in the midfield, teams are starting to figure out the Rapids and how to score against them. It is certainly made more difficult by continued lineup changes by the Rapids coaching staff and the absolute ineptness of the Rapids offense. And because of this, Cronin deserves some credit for holding this all together as well as he has.
Nick LaBrocca: Grade B-
LaBrocca is not being relied upon as much this season as in 2014 when he lead the team in minutes. He has played in only seven matches, but has grabbed a goal (shockingly in a tie) and has played pretty well overall. He is not a player that should be seen as a minutes eater as he was last year, but has played well in spurts. He gives a blue collar performance and will leave it all out on the field. This is what you want.
He is physical and it appears that he has cut back on his needless yellow cards that were a hallmark from last year. I have always liked LaBrocca and his work rate is something Rapids need--I just don't want him to play significant minutes.
Lucas Pittinari: Grade C
Pittinari was one of the big off-season signings this year for the Rapids and he leads the central midfielders in minutes played, games started, games played, and goals. So this is good right?
No, not really. He is a defensive midfielder who seems to lack that final pass and vision that you want as a D-Mid. And he is also not the most physical of players and this may come more from his transition to MLS than anything else. I do like his style, but he needs to be more physical and not be afraid to throw his weight around as needed.
Dillon Powers: Grade C
The Rapids are better with Powers as a central attacking midfielder. It is quite clear that Powers is their true #10, but for some bloody reason, Mastroeni absolutely refuses to see that and plays him everywhere on the pitch. Powers seems to have had his development stunted this year and I can completely see him leaving this team this off-season.
That being said, Powers has not always played his best. The miss against RSL comes to mind and when he plays out of his "preferred" position he looks completely and utterly invisible. As a professional, you need to find a way to make your mark on the game, even if it is out of position. Powers is one of the cornerstones of this team, and he needs to have a consistent place in the first team and not the musical chairs that he has been forced to endure.