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Lethargic Colorado Rapids attack hopes to exploit leaky Loons defense

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Embarking on a road trip to face Minnesota United FC on Saturday, the Colorado Rapids are hungry for goals and points as the side looks to end its current seven-game losing streak and avoid the worst record in a 34-game season in club history.

“I’m sure people are fed up with hearing me say this, but there’s absolutely no excuses coming from our side. We’re very disappointed,” Rapids head coach Anthony Hudson said of his team’s recent form. “But one thing I can’t fault is the lads absolutely never give up. They’ve given everything.”

At the root of Colorado’s recent struggles has been a lethargic offense. The Rapids have been outscored 22-1 over the past seven games, managing only 16 shots on frame total during that span, or an average of 2.29 on-target efforts per game.

As Colorado preps for the upcoming offseason and winter transfer window, a true striker is at the top of Hudson’s wish list.

“We know it’s an area of the pitch we are addressing, and everyone at the club at the moment is 24/7 looking, scouting all over the world – Europe, South America, within the league,” Hudson said during this week’s media availability. “We’ve got scouts at games every week in the league looking at the targets we have.”

Injuries have compounded the Rapids’ offensive woes. With attacking options Sam Nicholson (back) and Jack McBean (foot) both out of the lineup, Hudson has experimented, relying on attacking midfielders Giles Barnes and Shkëlzen Gashi to spark the attack.

“I think it’s difficult, because both of us are not natural strikers,” Barnes explained. “I think if you asked us both where we’d prefer to play, it would be as a 10 or 11. As the gaffer said, not having a No. 9 – a real, true No. 9 – it doesn’t help. But we work hard every day to try to get that chemistry going. I think you’ve seen little flashes. As an attack, we need to do better.”

This weekend’s opponent offers a prime opportunity for Colorado to end its offensive drought. Having conceded 63 goals thus far in 2018, the Loons defense looks to be an easy target, despite the Rapids’ struggles.

“They’re capable of scoring a goal, but we feel they’re liable for a mistake,” said Barnes. “The way that we play and the way that we press, it’s something we’re working on.”

Colorado has long been out of the playoff hunt. But with jobs on the line and the chance to avoid being in the history books for all the wrong reasons, the Rapids still have something to play for.

Said Barnes: “I think everyone knows what’s at stake. These last few games, you’ve got to put in the work, you’ve got to show you want to be part of the club. That’s not just for the young lads, that’s for everyone.”

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