As the Colorado Rapids wind down 2017 with just half-a-dozen games remaining, focus, says Joshua Gatt, turns both internal and towards your teammates as opposed to the standings. Gatt credits interim Head Coach Steve Cooke with not re-inventing the wheel looking to turn things around but stressing to the players to look at the guy next to you and come together for each other.
“Cookie has just tapped the mentality we’ve always had adding his own flair to it which was ‘Let’s do this work each day for ourselves, for each other, just to be a team that wins at the end of the day’. We have a chance to turn things around and end the season on a high note,” explains Gatt with an eye on 2018 as this campaign ends.
“He challenged all of us to do it for our own personal motivation but also do it for each other. We don’t want to be where we’re at. We don’t want to keep losing games personally, and bringing that into a team mentality brings out a competitiveness, brings out energy, and brings out a focus we’ve had in the last couple of weeks in our training sessions.”
Colorado’s last two matches, a 1-0 win at Houston and a 1-1 draw at home to NYCFC, have both provided examples of what the Rapids are doing well and can be built upon starting with Vancouver at the weekend.
“Houston, we had a really great defensive shape overall causing them some issues,” Gatt explains to The Voice of C38. “They didn’t have a lot of clean chances on goal which was a huge improvement for us. We took the opportunity to break. We also looked forward, we wanted to attack, we wanted to counter to break teams down.”
“New York, besides one great individual effort, they didn’t really have a lot of clean scoring chances from the run of play. You could see the mentality in that game when we win the ball in a high press, or we win the ball in midfield the first pass is to look forward and to break the lines. That mentality has upped our attacking game.”
That mentality suits Josh just fine according to the speedy midfielder. Watch Gatt in practice and his focus is to be a constant force going forward putting pressure on the defenders making the game uncomfortable for those sitting back.
“I love to run at people, I love to dribble guys, and I love to create something. If I get the ball in those wide areas I’m going to go at guys. I’m going to attack them and ask the question can they stop me. If they can’t, then I’m going to keep it going. If they can, then I’m just going to have to find another way to get around.”
“Maybe it won’t work out always but in my opinion as a player I’d rather take a risk in the offensive third, and end up losing the ball there, than play it safe and end up in our half of the field,” says Gatt of his views being an attacking player on this low-scoring side.
As far as Vancouver, the Whitecaps have quietly snuck into first place in the Western Conference which is why Gatt thinks the Rapids can go to Canada looking to surprise a lot of people. “They’ve been scoring goals, they’ve been defending really well, they’ve been a quality side,” Josh admits. “Going into a game like this, the pressure is on them to perform and get three points. Everybody assumes a team like Vancouver in first place should be able to take the bottom team in the West and get three points.”
“We need to just have our own positive mindset of defending well in a good shape and when we can breaking. If we put the pressure on them to try and break us down and we just take the space they give us to counter and break into we can cause a lot of problems. We can make them second guess themselves, second guess the game-if they start doing that then the game’s in our favor.”