After the disasterous result in Salt Lake City, Colorado got back to work straight away this week knowing that such an experience was a fluke but one they need to rebound from at home Sunday afternoon. “We’ve already looked at some video, both good and the bad, but we were pretty pleased with our approach and how we were playing the game with eleven men,” defender Axel Sjoberg told the Voice of C38. “We’re going to continue to work on not only the things we haven’t done well but also becoming better on the things we are doing well-it’s a process.”
That process began with a long list of things to master at the start of the season, but is slowly being whittled down as the squad becomes proficient in what Head Coach Anthony Hudson is asking for. “As you evolve throughout the season you find things you need to improve on. At the beginning there’s a lot of things. Then the coach starts with the important ones,” explains Sjoberg. “It’s more playing to the system that he’s trying to implement. Everything from pressing up top, how we as defenders move our lines both laterally and vertically, staying connected as a unit. It’s a bunch of small tweaks but it comes down to playing as a system, both with and without the ball.”
“As we’ve gotten better in certain areas of the field it’s allowed us to focus more on the defending aspect and how we work with our lines. I think you see an evolution, and we may have one or two things during the week that we’re focusing on. That’s what you’re seeing-we’re not there yet, we’re not a finished product yet but we’re working on it.”
One major difference this week will be goalkeeper Zac MacMath getting the start in goal behind Sjoberg after Tim Howard was shown red in the first half at Real Salt Lake in the last match. Axel says the preparation of the backline will change but ever-so-slightly with a different voice behind them. “We’re going to work to make sure we’re extra communicative, but there’s no major difference. I don’t think it matters that much. In my opinion, he’s the best backup keeper in the league and could be starting on a lot of other teams,” Sjoberg says of MacMath. “I’m very comfortable with Zac, personally, and I know what he’ll bring. I trust him just as much as Tim.
Orlando City comes into Dick’s Sporting Goods Park next with an oftentimes high-scoring, yet erratic, attack that will surely test Colorado in the defensive third of the field. Axel admits they won’t worry about things they can’t control-like who is in net behind them. “We do the preparation during the week and when the game comes there’s so many things you’re trying to focus on, I don’t focus too much on who’s behind me. If I was it probably wouldn’t be too good,” admits Sjoberg ahead of Sunday’s afternoon match.
“It’s going to be no different to any other games,” admits the Rapids center-back, who’s found his stride after starting recently in place of injured Danny Wilson. “Really, it’s about continuing what we’re doing, being committed and hungry, working harder than the other team, especially at home, showing that we deserve to win.”