As we count down 2011, ColoradoRapids.com is taking a look back at the top five moments of the Rapids' 2011 campaign. It's by no means an exhaustive list, since I can think of many other highlights that will be remembered from the past year.
Coming in at #5 on the Top Five Moments of 2011 is not necessarily a team effort, but a collection of individual accolades the players racked up throughout the course of the season. But as the cliché goes, no one could have done it without their teammates.
Top Moment #4: Routing of the Bulls
Several players earned honors, set records, and reached milestones during the 2011 season:
- Captain Pablo Mastroeni became the 4th player in MLS history to start 300 games on August 20 in a 2-2 tie with Chivas USA at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mastroeni joined retired midfielders Chris Henderson and Steve Ralston and goalkeeper Kevin Hartman as the only players in the League's 16 years to start 300 regular season games.
- Drew Moor set a new MLS record for field players by playing every minute of 69 consecutive regular season games when he completed the match against Chicago on August 28. The previous record was held by former defender Peter Vermes from 1998-2000 while with the Rapids and Kansas City. Unfortunately for Moor, he received a yellow card in the game which forced him to sit out the following game, thus ending his streak, which had begun on August 9, 2009 while still with FC Dallas. And if not for international duty or suspensions, Moor has played every minutes of every game he's appeared for the past four years. In fact, the last time “the Ironman” was subbed out of a regular season game was on Sept. 20, 2007. MORE
- When veteran defender Tyrone Marshall signed with the Rapids in January of last year, it was only a matter of time before he set an MLS record that may take years - if ever - to match. Long-time Rapids fans remember that the club originally drafted the Jamaican in the 1998 SuperDraft. His only appearance for the Rapids that year was his pro debut on July 18. He was then traded to Miami and had spent the past 12 years on various MLS teams. When he entered the match for the Rapids at Dallas on April 8, 2011, he set the MLS record for longest period between appearances for one team: 12 years and 272 days.
- But Marshall wasn't done. On May 7, he became just the 13th player in MLS to appear in 300 regular season games. Keep in mind there have been more than 1550 players that have played in MLS.
- Forward Omar Cummings struggled with injuries and missed time while on international duty, but he did receive a tremendous honor: he was named to his first-ever MLS All-Star team. It was quite a sight to see a player that came up from the Rapids reserve system represent the League and Colorado when he started the midsummer classic against English powerhouse Manchester United at Red Bull Arena in July. MORE
- Midfielder Jeff Larentowicz started and ended the year with two unique opportunities, and filled in the middle with arguably his best season as a pro. Larentowicz made his debut with the U.S. National team in a January friendly against Chile. He then scored the first goal of the Rapids’ season en route to leading the team with eight goals in all competitions. He was named the team's Most Valuable Player and finished up the year with a three-week training stint with English Premier League side Bolton Wanderers. MORE
- Larentowicz was joined by goalkeeper Matt Pickens and defender Kosuke Kimura as the only three teammates start every regular season match for their club. And according to Opta, one of the League's statistical analysis partners, Kimura finished third in MLS with 2,306 touches on the ball.
- Midfielder Davy Armstrong made headlines in 2010 as the first Rapids Academy player to move up to the pro ranks. In 2011, he made his professional debut when he entered the CONCACAF Champions League match in El Salvador against Isidro Metapan on September 28. MORE
- Another midfielder Steven Emory, who at one point was in the Rapids Academy, was one of 57 players that took part in an invite-only tryout combine last January. After standing out at the tryout, he was invited to take part in the initial phase of preseason with the Rapids. He continued impressing and stayed on for phase two, a trip to Arizona, where he scored goals against the Columbus Crew and the LA Galaxy. Upon return, he was signed to a pro contract and made his debut in a U.S. Open Cup play-in match against the Chicago Fire in Illinois on March 30. MORE
- On the group front, the Rapids set two new records: From May 7-June 4, the Rapids tied six straight games, which was a new MLS record for consecutive draws in a single season. The streak ended on June 11 when Drew Moor knocked in a stoppage time goal to give the Rapids a 1-0 victory at Portland. That win also set a new team record, as it extended the club's unbeaten run to nine games (2-0-7), surpassing the club's previous longest undefeated streak of eight games which was set in 2009.