Homegrown Cole Bassett leading charge for Colorado Rapids

Colorado Rapids - Cole Bassett - dribble - September 23, 2020

Things look to be falling into place quite nicely of late for Colorado Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett.

The 19-year-old Homegrown Player continued his strong run of form on Wednesday evening as the Rapids routed the struggling San Jose Earthquakes, 5-0, at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. After Kellyn Acosta's goal in the 29th minute was wiped out by Video Review on an offside call, Bassett made the most of his chance minutes later, getting his head on a perfect ball played in by Jack Price to get Colorado off and running. He'd later add an assist on Andre Shinyashiki's 84th-minute goal that wrapped up the scoring.

That's four goals and three assists in just eight matches for Bassett since the restart, as the teenager continues to be a mainstay in the lineup for coach Robin Fraser and the Rapids. It's part of why Colorado have won 3 of their last 4 heading into a key Western Conference tilt against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday (MLS LIVE on ESPN+; DAZN in Canada).

But while the numbers are one thing, it's Bassett's on-the-field growth that has truly caught the eye of Fraser.

"His game intelligence continues to grow," Fraser said. "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."

Highlights: Colorado 5, San Jose 0

And if you ask his teammates, Bassett's developing as a player beyond his 19 years.

"He's not playing like a homegrown anymore," said Jonathan Lewis, whose goal in the 50th minute gave Colorado a 2-0 lead. "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."

San Jose's travails have been well documented: the Quakes have allowed 11 goals over its past 2 matches and a league-worst 38 in 13 games, and are the first team in MLS history to give up five or more in a match five times in one season.

Still, especially considering the two sides played to a 1-1 draw at Earthquakes Stadium on September 5, the Rapids knew that it was important to not take things for granted against their opponent.

"I think for us, it doesn't matter the team. We've just got to take it game by game," said Lewis. "We have to go out there and just show the commitment and obviously have to get the results. At the end of the day, when it comes to making the playoffs, it doesn't matter who you play. You have to be able to step up to every single team...Now, we have a game on Sunday (against Sporting KC) in 3, 4 days and we have to go out there and show the same consistency."

Fraser echoed that sentiment.

"The score is great, it looks great, scoring goals obviously is great. But at the end of the day, we really try to focus on the performance," he said. "Regardless of what tonight looked like, the focus is to come out on Sunday and execute the things offensively and defensively that we have done (that) when we do well we have been able to get decent results.

"I think there's a pride developing within the team about how they play, and that's probably the most important thing."