Mindset. Mindset. Mindset.
It's a word that's been a favorite of Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni since he finally took over the reins of the Colorado Rapids. He's often cited that, "it's all about mindset" when talking about what's gone right or, more often, what hasn't during the Rapids' games this season.
If the "mindset" the Rapids showed Saturday night in a 4-1 thrashing of Montreal Impact is the mindset Pablo has been talking about, I doubt I'm alone in saying I'd like to see a whole lot more of it.
One could point to many factors that led to the Rapids' first offensively dominating game of 2014. The starting lineup included arguably the strongest attacking options the Rapids had available--an opportunity Kamani Hill happily grabbed by the throat. There is also a strong point to be made that any good team should beat up on the lowly Impact, who are struggling to find any momentum in what has been a difficult season for the Canadian side.
Those points fail to tell the whole story, however. Anyone who has watched this Rapids team in 2014 will have noticed a stark contrast in not only their attitude, but their desire on the field last Saturday. They played with confidence and a distinct purpose to get the ball in the back of the opponent's net.
Mastroeni spoke about that desire during his post-game interview, stating, "Those guys want to win more than I do, and I think they showed that."
There wasn't a more evident moment of that will to win than a moment late in the first half when Dillon Powers--just having harried Montreal's Patrice Bernier to pass to Hassoun Camara deep in their own half--vividly motioning and screaming to a placid Kamani Hill, ten yards away, to press for the ball.
The last time the Rapids played a struggling opponent they were "supposed" to beat, it was Chivas USA--a game the Rapids lost 3-1. In that game, the Rapids out-shot Chivas 16-6. The stats from the Montreal game look very similar, with the Rapids taking a 19-7 shot advantage. The biggest difference? The Rapids put double the amount of those shots on target, converting four into goals. Holding their opponents to only one goal this time isn't too shabby either.
The Rapids will face their next test this weekend against a Houston Dynamo team that just lost both games they played in a double-game week. Whether or not Colorado can bring that same mindset at home against Houston remains to be seen but, if Saturday was any indication of what that mindset can do, the Rapids' offensive woes might just be a thing of the past.