Colorado's offense has needed a 'that guy' all season long. They've been seeking the guy that can make something out of nothing, goals from scratch. Without him, they've struggled to consistently put goals on the board, and most of the goals that have been scored by the Rapids this season can be put down to luck and circumstance more than actual skill.
No, Atiba Harris doesn't count. Goal against Chivas aside, he hasn't done much more than be in the right place at the right time three times. As nice as that is, that really just makes him this season's Jaime Castrillon, and last year we were in need of the exact same thing as we are this year -- that guy to take the offense in his hands and make the big play at the right time. When Atiba has had opportunities to make big plays happen on his own, he hasn't gotten the job done.
It's certainly not all him, though. Deshorn Brown has also struggled with his finishing, though he has carved out a pretty decent number of assists in the final third. Edson Buddle has been solid when he's been on the field, but he hasn't done much in the way of making something out of nothing. Martin Rivero has been injured or recovering from injury all season, and it has hurt his game. Jamie Smith is always a good candidate, but as is the norm, he injured himself early and hasn't seen the pitch in weeks. Tony Cascio has been tentative and slumped his way out of a starting spot.
We've been itching to see someone grab the reins of the offense for quite a while now, and I think we found a candidate on Saturday: Kevin Harbottle.
The spitfire Chilean had a very impressive first game of the season on the wing against FC Dallas and was then played out of position (in my opinion anyway) for most of his appearances after that, being stuck in the center of the midfield where it's much harder to run at guys. Running at opposing players is his specialty, and that was on display against the Harrisburg City Islanders in that reserve game he starred in.
Harbottle didn't just win the game for Colorado, he put on a show. Three goals, all unassisted. That's all Harbottle, and those goals were no joke. It was easier of course because a USL team was in town, but they'll be facing a Quakes team this weekend that just lost their coach and have been dire on the road, and just about everywhere else as well, so far this season. (Their 23 goals allowed so far is the fourth worst in MLS.) That's a good starting point for someone who is coming off of a hat trick, I think.
As for who he would replace? That's a story for another day. You can give Harris or Brown a rest, I just want to see the Harbottle released against the Earthquakes so we can see if the young Chilean is really all he was cracked up to be against the Islanders. Just, you know, don't start him in the center of midfield again. That's just trolling me outright.