The Colorado Rapids’ run of good form continued on Wednesday night with the club picking up its third win out of the past four league matches. Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett stole the show against the San Jose Earthquakes with a goal and assist to continue his strong season for the Western Conference club.
Bassett scored the opening goal for the Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, kicking off what ended up being a 5-0 romp. The 19-year-old has seen his production rise for the second-straight season in Colorado and it’s no surprise to Rapids manager Robin Fraser.
“His game intelligence continues to grow,” Fraser said post match. “He’s a player who understands how to find the space that he needs to execute the play that he needs to execute, and this is not an easy thing for young players to understand. Cole’s progress has obviously been really, really good over the last year or so.”
After scoring three goals and adding one assist in 26 combined MLS appearances over the past two seasons, Bassett has continued to climb the ranks of production in 2020. Bassett has scored four goals and added three assists in seven regular season matches since the return of league play.
Bassett’s headed finish gave the Rapids a first-half advantage before the hosts scored four goals in the final 40 minutes of Wednesday’s victory. Not only did Bassett help set up Andre Shinyashiki’s 84th minute finish, but he completed 90% of his passes and tried on several other occasions to connect with his teammates.
Bassett’s performances have gotten better as the current season pushes towards its finale with Colorado aiming to earn its first playoff berth since 2016. The Rapids are currently sitting in fifth place on 19 points and has defeated rivals Real Salt Lake and the L.A. Galaxy over the past few weeks to move further away from the red line.
“He’s not playing like a homegrown anymore,” said teammate Jonathan Lewis “He’s playing like a full-fledged pro. I think for me, that’s the biggest thing, and that’s why he’s been really successful. He’s always had the talent, (but) it’s about him now fitting into those shoes.”
With 10 matches left until the playoffs are scheduled to begin, Colorado will need Bassett and additional young players to continue making an impact for the Rapids to clinch a spot in November’s postseason. They might be riding good form right now, but every match remaining will be tough for the Rapids with everyone bunched together in the Western Conference standings.