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2018 Rapids Player Reviews: Midfielders

Our second of a four-part series reviewing the performance of Rapids players in 2018.

John A. Babiak - @Photog_JohnB

Last week we started our four-part series reviewing each Colorado Rapids player this season. After looking at the defenders in week one, we turn to the midfielders this week.

Kellyn Acosta

The Rapids acquired Acosta via a trade on July 23rd that sent forward Dominique Badji to FC Dallas. Of the 14 games after that, Acosta started 12 of them and went the full 90 in all but one. He scored in his first two games in burgundy, and he managed to add three assists by the end of the season.

There is no denying that Acosta became a focal point of this team once he was joined the club in July. He immediately responded to the pressure of being “the guy” by scoring two goals in his first two games. After that, he was held a little more in check, but he continuously showed to be the most talented Rapid in the midfield. He played as a perfect number 8 in the 4-4-2 diamond. He helped on defense, drove the ball forward (even if there were no forwards up there), and put in all the hustle. On top of it, he added in some great deliveries on free kicks. he eventually got put as the 6 and the 10 for a few games, and I never felt like he fit in those spots as well as the 8. Overall, he made the impact he was asked to, and I expect that he will only get better if the Rapids put some players around him next year.

Season Grade: A-

Nana Boateng

In his second year with the team, Boateng appeared in 20 games and started 14 of them. He was deployed in the RM/RWB position a few times and throughout the center of the midfield as a 6 or an 8.

Boateng always seems like a player that has never fully pieced his game together. He has size. We have seen him make some unreal passes (remember the ball he played with a broken back last year?). He shows flashes of brilliance. Then he makes a dumb play, gives the ball away cheaply, or gets caught out of position. This season seemed to be more of that. He had some good games, including a game-winner against San Jose, and some games where he seemed invisible (or worse). With that, it’s hard to give him a grade. Ultimately, I don’t have positive feelings when I think about him and this year.

Season Grade: C

Cole Bassett

It was a crazy year for the 17-year-old. He started the season in the Rapids DA, and was part of the team that would carry the stretcher at Rapids games. By the end of the season, he had played in 6 games, started 3, and made MLS Team of the Week twice. Not bad for a kid still in high school.

Watching Bassett play at the end of the season might have been the thing that got me most excited for next year. (It’ll probably still be a long year, I know.) The thing that always stuck out to me was his awareness. He knew where he wanted the ball to go next before it ever got to him, and it’s not like it was always some easy layoff pass either. He beat some guys off the dribble. He made some dangerous passes. Finally, he scored a goal that wasn’t all about skill. It was about being in the right spot at the right time, another sign of his awareness. I think this kid is gonna be good one day.

Season Grade: A*

*I will admit this grade is not only about his play. Yes, I think he played well, but it’s hard not give a guy an A when he goes from the stretcher team to two MLS Team of the Weeks in one season.

Johan Blomberg

In his first season in MLS, Blomberg played in 24 games and started 21. While he didn’t score any goals, the 31-year-old did manage to provide 3 assists.

I’ll admit, this was a player that I knew very little about before this season started. He was brought over from Sweden to be a box-to-box midfielder that makes his money on being a good passer. Initially, I was pretty impressed with him. In the first three games of the season, he tallied two assists and looked like a guy that could provide killer passes from the midfield. As the season went on, he seemed to fade. He struggled to keep making an impact, and he only went the full 90 four times after April.

Season Grade: C

Enzo Martinez

Enzo Martinez is another player that the Rapids signed this year. He had an impressive season with then-affiliate Charlotte Independence in 2017 and appeared in 22 games with 15 starts for the ‘Pids, though 14 of those appearances were in the first 15 games of the season. He also added 3 assists.

Enzo was another player that I was excited about at the beginning of the season. He seemed like he could do a decent job of playing the number 10, and I loved the engine that he brought. Especially early in the year, I constantly felt like he was one game away from scoring a goal or making a major play, but it never seemed to come. Eventually, he was relegated to being a sub that would bring high energy late in the game, a role that seemed to suit him pretty well.

Season Grade: C+

Jack Price

This was Jack Price’s first season in MLS and he was a stalwart. He started all 31 games that he played in, scored a goal, and provided 4 assists while playing the number 6 role.

Jack Price was brought in to be a key piece of the midfield, and he did a good job. It can be easy to overlook him since the defense was constantly shredded, but I’m convinced the goals conceded number would have been higher without him. On top of it all, he was always good with possession and constantly showed that he is a good passer. He had big shoes to fill replacing Micheal Azira, but I do think he was an upgrade due to his offensive abilities. All in all, there is a reason he won Rapids MVP. He and Edgar Castillo were certainly the best players this year.

Season Grade: B+/A-

Dillon Serna

In his 6th professional season, Serna managed to see the field 20 different times, starting 10 of those matches. It is worth pointing out that he went the full 90 in all of his starts, and all 10 starts came in the last 11 games of the season. Though he played a little bit of wingback in the beginning of the season, most of his playing time came as a 10 or an 8 in the 4-4-2 diamond. He finished the season with 1 goal and zero assists.

From a playing perspective, this was the most playing time Serna has gotten since his second professional season. He also made some important strides in changing position to a more central role so that he could work his way into the team. During his time on the field, I thought he was okay. The number 10 role didn’t seem to be a great fit since he didn’t want to be the guy to take the ball and make something happen. He often dropped too deep and would play the ball backward from that role. He played better as an 8 when his job was primarily to keep possession and try to get the ball moving forward. Overall, I think he could be a serviceable rotation player in the midfield next year.

Season grade: B-/C+

**Sam Hamilton and Ricardo Perez are on the roster, but they did not feature in any games during the time they spent with the Rapids this season.

What are your thoughts on the Rapids midfielders this season? Let us know in the comments below!