Jack McBean has been asked to shoulder much of the Colorado scoring as a lone striker recently for the Rapids. As attackers come and go from Commerce City, Jack has been the constant as someone willing to do the work oftentimes unnoticed in a stat sheet but definitely counted on by the coaching staff. “I’m not a prolific player, or flashy, so I’m fine with cruising under the radar, being a team guy, and helping by playing the best I can.”
“If you really understand the game, we play with a back four,” McBean explains to The Voice of C38 leading up to the first meeting with Atlanta FC at home. “If I’m occupying two guys at one time that frees up someone. Whether that’s making runs in behind, or holding the ball up, being almost a nuisance to the other team’s backline, it’s the little things like that people don’t see looking at the stat line or even watching the game.”
“It’s doing what the coaches are asking from day 1, nailing all the little things when we have the ball-when we don’t have the ball, keeping the ball for the team, not playing out of myself. Just working hard and staying consistent on those little things have helped me out a lot.”
“(The coaches) want forwards that do all the things attacking-wise, defensively as well, which I’m more than happy to do and I’ve embraced that role,” says the veteran 23-yr old.
The past month has been a struggle for Colorado to get on the scoresheet, not finding net in the last three matches. However, McBean is like most Rapids players in that he knows this drought or run of form won’t last forever and believes the Burgundy Boys will turn things around at some point, if not soon.
“Obviously, you want to be the best all the time. The way we’re playing you want everything to happen immediately and start scoring 3-4 goals a game, but that just hasn’t been the case,” Jack says wearily. “We’ve played some really good soccer but didn’t score in those games. It’s frustrating walking away and not rewarding ourselves for the chances we created. Adding players will help, guys that are comfortable in front of goal, but for the time being that’s what I’ve been working on.”
It’s not a case of not wanting to succeed, or failing to try and hone their craft, that is dooming the Rapids, according to McBean. He admits that on a personal level scoring isn’t easy but he doesn’t feel like the team isn’t capable going forward. “For me personally, I feel confident in front of goal. I don’t have a sense of fear or anything, which I definitely had in the past.”
“It’s obviously frustrating coming away from a game having a couple of chances I put on net, or just a hair off, or the touch let me down. You always think about those things after the game and wish you could improve, but it will come.”
Jack also knows that success in practice doesn’t always equate to success come matchday, but that doesn’t stop these professionals from trying over and over again to get things right. “Definitely putting the work in on the training ground helps, but you could score 100 goals in practice and not score on the weekends. It’s the way we’re playing-we’re keeping the ball more, creating a few more chances, and I think that final piece is the hardest thing in soccer. That’s why Forwards get paid so much money-to score goals because it’s such a difficult thing to do.”
As far as what he would like to see out of his team as the 2018 MLS season winds down, Jack admits it’s about duplicating the increasingly positive effort on the field, and then combine that with more goals. “We haven’t really talked about it, but we want to play the same soccer we’ve been playing-keeping the ball, controlling possession, connecting a bunch of passes. Not losing any of our games at home would be big.”