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Only four players have more goals for the Colorado Rapids than Diego Rubio, and three of them are club legends with their names emblazoned above the main stand at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park.

With his goal against Columbus Crew on Saturday, Rubio moved to 12 for the season and 31 overall, level with Chris Henderson, but behind Conor Casey (50), Paul Bravo, Omar Cummings (both 39), and John Spencer (37).

After the Chilean tucked away the spot kick, my colleague Marcelo Balboa - not for the first time - stated: “There’s your Rapids MVP right there, and why he wasn’t an All-Star is beyond me.”

Rubio has been the one consistent in an up-and-down season so far for the Rapids. He has scored in each of the last three games, during which he managed a brace of assists in an MLS encounter for the first time.

His contributions have been steady, with a goal or assist in each of the last eight outings. Not only are his 12 goals an MLS career high, but he has never bettered the six assists he’s chipped in with so far this season.

Only once previously has Rubio managed double digit goals, when scoring 11 in 2019, his first season with the Rapids. On that occasion, he played second fiddle to Kai Kamara, with the veteran netting 14.

This year, though, Rubio truly has been the man. He has stepped up when needed, embracing the challenge and the responsibility. Often the man stood over a freekick when the goal is within range, he has also shouldered the load when penalty kicks have been awarded, converting all three of those he’s taken (he allowed Gyasi Zardes to take and score against LAFC on May 14 for his first Rapids goal).

He sits on 11 game-winning goals from 90 appearances for the Rapids, just one behind club leader Paul Bravo. Four of those have come this year, again emphasizing the key role Rubio has played in keeping his team within reach of the playoff spots.

The former Sporting Kansas City striker, in his fourth season in Colorado, sits on 99 MLS starts. He may well strike 100 at Vancouver on Wednesday.

Of other players approaching notable milestones, central defender Danny Wilson is one away from his 100th appearance. The next start for fullback Keegan Rosenberry will be his 180th in Major League Soccer.

And then there’s Zardes, a man who has 94 regular season goals, the first of which was scored at BC Place, Vancouver for LA Galaxy on May 11, 2013, beating former Rapids goalkeeper Joe Cannon.

For Cannon, it was the last of his 342 appearances in MLS. He enjoyed 25 shutouts during his four seasons with the Rapids, which is good enough for third on the club’s all-time list, one ahead of William Yarbrough.