The midfield was a mix for the Colorado Rapids this season. The defensive midfielders were some of the best of the league, but the attacking midfielders were questionable at times.
Micheal Azira and Sam Cronin were the core of the midfield, providing protection to the backline. Cronin has been with the Rapids since the 2015 season and wore the Captain arm band this year. Azira joined the Rapids in the off-season and was a relative unknown coming from Seattle.
The attacking midfielders did okay, but could have done a better job scoring or setting up goals. Shkelzen Gashi is listed as a forward, so you will find his review with the forwards.
There was just something missing from the attacking midfielders this year.
Here is how I thought they played this season along with your community ratings.
Micheal Azira - 7 (6.48): Azira was solid and did better than most of us thought when he was acquired. I think most of the Rapids supporters said, “Who?” But Azira did a great job in the midfield, protecting the backline. The one negative is that did lose focus a few times, getting sent off for two yellows in New York.
Sam Cronin - 7 (6.63): Cronin was solid again. He just had that gritty nature about him as he helped defend and then start attacks. Cronin has that attitude that gets under peoples skin. He has the ability to walk that fine line of playing the game and getting a card. Scored a key goal to get the Rapids level versus Philadelphia. Due to yellow card accumulation, missed the final game of the conference finals against Seattle.
Marlon Hairston - 7 (6.66): Hairston is a fan favorite and has grown into a pretty good player for the Rapids. He adds a different dimension down the wing with his speed. When he came off the bench, he immediately gave the opponents trouble. Hairston also defends really well. He scored three goals. He started 14 of the 21 games he played in. Looking for some good things from Hairston in 2017.
Jermaine Jones - 6 (7.20): Due to suspension from an altercation with a referee last year and injury, Jones only played in nine games for the Rapids. Yes he did make an impact in the games that he played, but the Rapids also did well without him. He scored three goals this year, all in the first month of his season. His attitude and presence in the midfield will be missed, but the Rapids also did quite well without him in the lineup.
Sebastien Le Toux - 4 (5.94): Le Toux joined the team just at the trade deadline to give a spark to the Rapids; unfortunately he did not get them that much of a spark. He seemed slow and wasn’t a great fit with the team. His experience and skill was needed in attack, but instead he had too many turnovers and didn’t do a great job of defending, though he did work his tail off. He scored his only goal for the Rapids against Portland, a key win late in the season.
Marco Pappa - 5 (6.23): A great start for Pappa had many of the Rapids supporters thinking this was going to be a resurgence for the Guatemalan. However, after getting the winning goal against Los Angeles in stoppage time, it was slim pickings the rest of the season. He finished with two goals and four assists. Many times he seemed like he did not want to defend, which does not work well in a Pablo Mastroeni coached team.
Zach Pfeffer - N/A (N/A): Pfeffer is a player I was excited about having in Colorado. He joined from Philadelphia in the offseason, but did not feature for the Rapids at all after playing in 21 matches for the Union in 2015, scoring two goals. He did get 16 matches with Charlotte on loan with the Independence. I am interested to see if he resigns with the Rapids for the 2017 season.
Dillon Powers - 6 (5.97): Powers had an interesting season. Does he play the number 10 role just behind the striker or does he play deep and help start the attack? Because Azira and Cronin locked down the deep roll, he played a lot in the no. 10 roll and that may not be his best position. I am wondering what will happen with Powers in the future. He is a good player, he just needs a position that will best fit his skill and type of play. Powers got the equalizer on the road versus D.C. United.
Dillon Serna - 7 (6.34): Homegrown Serna was having a good season and seemed to be working his way to earning a starting position. He came off the bench and got the game winner against Kansas City, which I think was the Rapids goal of the year. Then a late tackle in Dallas during the U.S. Open Cup ended his season, with a torn ACL and torn lateral meniscus in his right knee. Looking forward to seeing Serna back on the pitch in 2017.
How do you think the midfield performed this season?