GK Kevin Hartman, 6: The 36-year-old turned away Jeff Larentowicz’s swerving shot off a free kick in the second half, proving he did have one more stunning save up his sleeve as his tremendous campaign came to a close. He perhaps could have reacted quicker on Conor Casey’s strike, but there was nothing he could do to stop George John’s own-goal winner for Colorado.
RB Jackson Goncalves, 5: Again filling in for the injured Heath Pearce, Jackson turned in 34 up-and-down minutes before giving way to Zach Loyd with an apparent hip injury.
CB George John, 6: It was a rock solid outing from the University of Washington alumnus, who had his hands full from beginning to end trying to contain the wrecking ball that was Casey – all of which made his tragically unlucky own goal in overtime all the more unfortunate.
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CB Ugo Ihemelu, 4: His less-than-admirable positioning often forced John to cover for him in the back. Cleverly set up by David Ferreira in overtime, he skied a shot over the crossbar.
LB Jair Benitez, 3: First, he was lucky not to receive a red card and give away a penalty kick for his first-half scuffle with Casey. Then, the Colorado target man out-scrapped him at the near post to tuck home the Rapids’ first goal. Finally, Macoumba Kandji nutmegged him in the penalty area before toe-poking the shot that deflected off John and over the goal line to win it for Colorado.
RM Marvin Chavez, 7: With pace and creativity, the Honduran international was a constant threat from the right wing all match long. His perfectly weighted cross fell right to Ferreira’s feet to set up Dallas’ lone tally, and his skipping long-range bid nearly doubled the advantage minutes later.
DM Daniel Hernandez, 6: If one word could be used to describe Hernandez on Sunday, it would be “gutsy.” Despite bringing poise and passion out of the holding midfield role, Hernandez fell just short of a championship for the fourth time.
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CM Dax McCarty, 6: Dallas’ diminutive box-to-box midfielder provided his usual energy in the center of the park, supplemented by the occasional touch of inspiration going forward.
LM Brek Shea, 4: The 20-year-old has seemingly been in a funk since picking up his first U.S. cap against Colombia last month. His listless 64-minute outing against Colorado didn’t break the trend.
AM David Ferreira, 7. The league MVP capped off his remarkable season with a well-timed run and emphatic finish on Chavez’s 35th-minute cross to put Dallas ahead. His vision and bursts of speed on the ball could have provided the Hoops with another goal or two, but it wasn’t meant to be.
CF Atiba Harris, 4: Again playing as the lone striker, he didn’t hold the ball particularly well up top and didn’t make any particularly dangerous runs either. His play did liven mildly once he moved to the flank upon Cunningham’s insertion.
RB Zach Loyd, 4: Unexpectedly thrust into the action after Jackson’s injury, the rookie out of North Carolina was badly burned by Colorado winger Jamie Smith on the Rapids’ first goal.
CF Jeff Cunningham, 5: Brought on for the ineffective Shea, Cunningham saw Drew Moor clear his last-gasp shot off the goal line as Dallas frantically pushed for the equalizer.
LM Eric Avila, 5: He entered the match late in the first overtime session but couldn’t replicate his playoff heroics against Real Salt Lake in the quarterfinals.
Schellas Hyndman, 5: Again benching Cunningham in order to start Harris up top and Shea on the left flank didn’t pan out too well, although it’s hard to blame him for rolling out the same 11 players who thrashed Los Angeles, 3-0, in the Western Conference final. Tactically, he made the safe substitutions and stuck with the same philosophies that won him MLS Coach of the Year honors. Ultimately, his squad’s loss came down to a moment of bad luck.
GK Matt Pickens, 6: Following his nice first-half save on Chavez, Pickens wasn’t called upon to do much until his clutch reaction denial of John’s low shot late in overtime. Dependable, if rarely spectacular, Pickens once again did just enough to get Colorado the result.
RB Kosuke Kimura, 6: He controlled his side of the field well, shadowing both Shea and Harris, neither of whom could escape his marking to make much of an impact.
CB Marvell Wynne, 5: His speed and athleticism in the back stymied several Dallas attacks, although he did appear to lose Ferreira as the Hoops playmaker split him and Moor to open the scoring.
CB Drew Moor, 6: His goal-line clearance of Cunningham’s shot seconds before the final whistle finished off an outstanding effort for the versatile defender, who slid to outside back once Baudet entered the contest. His ability to cover space in the back proved quite crucial throughout.
LB Anthony Wallace, 4: Playing against the club that traded him less than four months ago, the 21-year-old became prone to reckless tackles and errant services. On the opener, he conceded far too much space to Chavez, who promptly picked out Ferreira’s goal-crashing run.
RM Brian Mullan, 4: The 32-year-old nearly latched onto Mastroeni’s early through ball before Hartman intervened. After that, however, he was unusually quiet.
DM Pablo Mastroeni, 5: A two-time World Cup veteran playing in his first MLS Cup, Mastroeni seemed a step or two slow at times, but he did play his role in keeping Dallas’ talented three-man central midfield in check.
CM Jeff Larentowicz, 7: It was a standout performance for the 6-foot-1 holding midfielder, whose tenacious ball-winning and clean distribution were invaluable to the Rapids. He nearly put Colorado in front in the 62nd minute, only to see Hartman deny his set piece strike.
LM Jamie Smith, 6: A somewhat surprise starter in favor of Wells Thompson, the veteran Scotsman made up for a forgettable first half by blowing past Loyd on the left flank and setting up Casey’s goal with a low ball across the penalty area.
CF Omar Cummings, 6: The Jamaican international created a few opportunities for himself with his renowned pace while drawing enough attention to give Casey more room to operate.
CF Conor Casey, 8: Baldomero Toledo’s relaxed officiating played right up Casey’s alley, and the brutish striker took full advantage. He nearly drew a penalty kick in the 28th minute when Benitez appeared to take him down in front of goal (although Casey easily could have been called for a foul as well). Following Smith’s initial cross in the 57th minute, he beat Benitez and Hartman to the loose ball, eventually stabbing a shot in while lying on the turf. It was a vintage Casey performance, for which he rightfully took home MLS Cup MVP honors.
LM Wells Thompson, 5: The pesky midfielder replaced Smith in the 90th minute and added some bite to Colorado’s midfield during the extra sessions.
CB Julien Baudet, 6: Coming on late in regulation for the inconsistent Wallace, Baudet shored up a Colorado back line that was starting to look suspect.
CF Macoumba Kandji, 7: Acquired from the New York Red Bulls for Mehdi Ballouchy just two months ago, Kandji was an unlikely hero against Dallas. By touching the ball between Benitez’s legs before launching an off-balance shot off John and into the back of the net, he set up the overtime winner that gave Colorado its first MLS Cup. He only logged 10 minutes between replacing Cummings and exiting with an injury, but his impact was most certainly made.
Gary Smith, 7: The Englishman gambled by inserting Smith into the starting lineup, and the move paid off in a big way when the former Celtic midfielder set up Casey’s equalizer. Inserting Kandji for Cummings also proved to be a masterstroke when the substitute created the MLS Cup-winning strike in the 107th minute.