The Colorado Rapids came out of their match with the Portland Timbers with three points on Saturday night. After the first half, it looked as though the Burgundy Boys would not be able to climb out of the 1-0 hole they had dug for themselves, but goals by Dominique Badji and Alan Gordon provided Colorado with their fifth straight home win. Here is a quick look at how each player faired.
Tim Howard (GK): 7
Tim managed to accumulate four saves on the game while allowing only one goal. None of his saves are going to be making his season highlight real, but he did his job. When it comes to the goal he let in, there wasn’t much any goalie is the world would have been able to do. Howard did exactly what you would expect of him today, so that lands him with a typical score.
Marlon Hairston (RB): 6
Hairston is still growing into the RB position. As to be expected, he showed some growing pains in Saturday’s game. The most notable moment came when he backed himself all the way into the box in the play that lead to Sebastian Blanco’s goal. Looking back at the play, I am sure he will see that he should have stepped sooner and forced Blanco wide before it became too late. On the flip side, Hairston did a decent job going forward when he had a chance and provided a great delivery to Kevin Doyle on a play that nearly led to goal.
Kortne Ford (CB): 8
Ford had a very good game Saturday night. Starting with his strong clearance in the third minute, Ford showed that he was ready to make tackles and run around patrolling the defense. That is exactly what he did. Throughout the whole game, he only made one real kind of big mistake, and that was allowing Blanco to get inside of him in the second half. Tim Howard bailed him out with a save on that play, so it all worked out for a player that has really grown since the start of the season.
Axel Sjoberg (CB): 7
The big man was steady in his return to the lineup, and he delivered a solid overall performance. There were multiple moments throughout the game that you could tell Colorado was benefiting from having him back. First, he used his size to nearly score but could not quite get his head on top of the ball and sent it over the bar. Second, it is worth noting how comfortable Ford looked with him, and a lot of that likely comes back to his presence and leadership. The only real mistake he made was losing a one-on-one battle with Adi before the Portland striker missed a sitter. Looking at the replay, however, the argument could be made that he lost the battle due the fully extended arm of Adi mixed with the shove. Foul ref?
Mike da Fonte (LB): 7.5
Mike da Fonte vs Dairon Asprilla proved to be one of the most entertaining battles of the whole game. Fortunately for the players and fans in burgundy, da Fonte managed to win the majority of the battles. On top of that, da Fonte managed to do a good job of getting up field and delivering a number of crosses.
Jared Watts (CDM): 5
Watts played in the midfield for the first time since his early years in the MLS, and he looked a little uncomfortable and rusty. There were multiple times in which he seemed to be forcing this a little and he had a number of errant long balls. On top of that, him and Azira seemed to struggle a bit in working together to know who would step up and who would sit back. This allowed Portland to constantly find space in front of the back line, and that is just asking for bad things to happen against an offense like Portland. The one thing that Watts did bring was his ability to drop into the back line and allow the Rapids to fall into more of a 3-5-2 where da Fonte and Hairston could push up.
Michael Azira (CDM): 6
Like I mentioned with Watts, the partnership in the midfield did not work too well. As much as it sucks, that’s going to cause both the CMs to take a hit in their rating. Other than that, we saw pretty typical Azira, and we definitely saw him back in his comfort zone once Watts was subbed out. Azira also takes a hit for his part in overrunning the cutback on the Portland goal.
Josh Gatt (RM): 6
Gatt looked a little lost throughout much of the first half, but he grew into the game as it continued. Because the Rapids were shifting into a 3-5-2 on offense, Gatt was forced to go inside of the wingbacks, and he does not look nearly as comfortable inside as he does out on the wings. For that reason, he seemed to disappear a bit on offense. Once Watts came out and he was able to go back to his wide position on offense, however, he started to make a name for himself in the game. In the last 20-30 min before he was subbed, Gatt had a number of chances and good runs.
Mohammed Saeid (LM): 8.5
Throughout much of the game, Saeid could not really do much wrong. He did a good job maintaining possession and registered 87% passing on the night. Once Watts was taken out of the game and he moved into the center above Azira and had the speed of Serna and Gatt around him, he really took off. He made a number of great passes and eventually earned himself the game winning assist on a cross to Alan Gordon. He earned Man of the Match honors for his performance on Saturday.
Dominique Badji (ST): 7
He scored a goal. On an 18-yard chip. With his left foot. As someone who played soccer growing up, I can assure you that is a good, solid finish. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get to have a higher rating because he missed his other three chances. Two came back to back on a stolen back pass and an open header from a Doyle cross. The other came when he made too heavy of a touch on a through ball shortly before he was subbed off.
Kevin Doyle (ST): 7
For as much as Doyle has struggled to score goals, he has done his best to make up for it with hustle. Don’t get me wrong, a striker needs to be scoring, but it nice to see the effort he puts in. He does get graded down, however, for not managing to find the ball in many dangerous spots. Too often was he dropping too deep into the midfield to get the ball and essentially leaving Badji up there alone. He still pulls out a seven because of his passing. He had a good cross to Badji, and a great through ball to his strike partner on the goal. It also helps he put a good header on frame and forced a nice save in the second half.
Dillon Serna (on for Watts in the 52’): 6
Serna came on for the final 40 minutes, and he brought his typical energy, speed, and effort. Unfortunately, it did not really materialize into much. To his defense, he often found himself charging at an entire back line with only one other man around him, and not many players can make much happen when it’s 2 vs 4 or 5.
Caleb Calvert (on for Badji in the 72’): 5
Calvert struggled to become part of the match. He did not find the ball at his feet very much, and he did not really make any runs to pull the defense apart. Overall, he will look to try and make more of an impact in his next appearance.
Alan Gordon (on for Gatt in the 80’): 8
Another day, another goal for the super sub. In the Rapids last MLS game, Gordon came on and scored a late winner, and it turns out lightning can strike twice. The forward came into the game and managed to guide a header into the back of the net just a few minutes later. Almost as impressively, Gordon won a number of arial duels on the defense side of the ball to preserve the 2-1 lead he delivered to the Burgundy Boys.