Colorado Rapids head coach Robin Fraser has praised his team for their phenomenal determination as they stand one victory away from overtaking league-leading Seattle Sounders.
No-one could have predicted that the underdogs would be one match away from first place after barely making fifth last year. Now, Fraser admits his biggest point of pride is the team’s depth and range of contributors that led to a spectacular 2021 Major League Soccer season run.
“It’s really a testament to the team and the fact that these guys are working so hard, and really working together so that we’re all on the same page where we can make changes and we don’t break or lose rhythm,” Fraser said.
“In fact, our rhythm can pick up, our tempo can pick up. And in fact, we’ve seen that over the last number of games. Most of the teams I’ve been on it’s been 14 guys or so that play often and obviously with the new sub rule, we’re somewhere up around 16-17 guys are playing fairly consistently. And what that does for me is that brings more of a team feel. Everyone feels like they’re a part of it.
“That’s one of the things I like about it. I hope this five-sub rule never goes away because it allows us to feel like everyone really plays a part,” Fraser continued.
“And what we’re saying when we do that is we’re getting contributions from everyone. So it’s been really gratifying to this point. Our hope is that we continue to improve and continue to get better and sharper and as a result continue to get decent results.”
The Rapids have gone unbeaten in their last six MLS matches, managing an overall record of 12-5-4.
With only 13 matches remaining in the season before the 2021 playoffs commence on 19 November, Fraser said it’s all about maintaining tunnel vision.
While the head coach admitted to getting easily caught up in the league table and standings, he and the team must remain away from getting caught up in numbers.
“It’s nice to look at [the standings] once in a while, I’m sure everyone does,” he added. “The players do, the coaches do, certainly the front office and organization do. But in the locker room, in terms of coaches and players, we don’t talk about it much, we haven’t talked about it much. We really focus on our performance and adhering to our principles, and we feel like when we do that we get good results.”
The Rapids face LA Galaxy next in what could be the defining match of the Western Conference.