Throughout the trials, tribulations, and successes of the Colorado Rapids these past six seasons, one thing has remained constant: the presence of Dillon Serna. As a Homegrown player, the 24-year-old from Brighton and Thornton has seen his share of managerial swaps, formation changes, front office rotations, and wins and losses.
Through it all, the soft-spoken Serna has always remained positive in where he was progressing and where his career is going. “I love being here, I love playing here, obviously I’m from here, so at the end of the day I’m happy here, I want to be playing,” Serna told the Burgundy Wave. “I want to be somebody that’s a main part of this team. I hope that’s what their plan is too, but like I say, I’ve been able to play in a bunch of different places and wherever they put me I’ve done well. “
Serna has been sort of a player without a position, good at many spots but not able to devote his efforts at being great at any one. From leftback to winger to forward to central midfielder, the versatile Serna has been able to plug in anywhere but between the sticks and usually come up with a wonder-goal or two during a season.
However, he admits that doesn’t always bode well for progressing his game. “It’s been one of my stronger suits that I’ve been able to play in different places, and that’s definitely helped me over my career here, but at the same time I want to find some consistency and build that rhythm.”
That seems as though it may be changing for the still-young midfielder from Colorado. Under Head Coach Anthony Hudson, Serna says the players are encouraged to go talk to the gaffer if they have questions or want to be clear about what is expected of them. Serna has recently done that and shares that he’s been given a clear path and a role to work on going forward. “I’ve definitely had multiple conversations with Anthony, and I have been frustrated the last few weeks—not dressing and not getting minutes—but I think going forward now, I spoke with him before the Boca Juniors game and I was playing in a different position, the 8 position, and I think that’s where we’re going to look at me to play.”
“I feel really positive about it,” Serna explains, almost relieved. “I’m excited about that. I had a great time playing there, they thought I played well so we’ll see what happens the next few weeks so I’m definitely excited. Hopefully, I’ll be more permanently looked at in the 8.”
As far as being able to clear the air and understand what is expected of him going forward, Serna says that plus the recent success at rivals Real Salt Lake, and a home match against a famed Argentinian club, has given him the boost he’s been searching for. “It was much needed for me. Getting some minutes in Salt Lake and getting a goal is huge for confidence. Getting 90 minutes against Boca Juniors, and honestly, that was one of the funnest games I’ve played in a long time, so I enjoyed it. We showed that we have the talent to beat a team like that.”
“Everybody that played in that game had something to prove and we just wanted to go out and have some fun, but at the end of the day it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to play against a club like that so you just want to enjoy it,” admitted Serna, echoing the sentiment of the entire lineup for the friendly match. “That’s when I’m at my best is when I’m having fun, just working hard, and things will happen like they did these past weeks.”
As far as how he sees his role progressing and what will help him become more of a factor for his hometown club after his experience against Boca Juniors, Serna knows the formula is simple-playing time equals improvement. “Just going forward, I felt like I got the ball more in that game than I felt I’ve gotten it in a long time. I got a lot of touches. When you’re on the ball you get a lot more confidence as the game goes on, so that’s how I like to play is to get on the ball and create, and obviously score goals.”
Colorado has struggled with results this season, and even though flashes of excellent play have been seen by fans, Serna realizes that consistency has to become the rule when applying Hudson’s system in MLS. “I’m definitely looking forward to some consistency in the midfield for sure.”
“I think in this system we’re going to have a lot more of the ball,” he explained. “We’re not going to be chasing the game as much, and when we do have to defend it’s more efficient the way we’re running and I think we’ll win the ball back quicker. We’ll have a lot more of the ball and a lot more possession and I think we’ll create a lot more chances from that.”
“The last few weeks we’ve definitely moved in the right direction,” he said. “Going to Salt Lake, and coming back from 2-nil down, that type of performance is something I think can spark your season. That’s definitely we needed at this point in the season.”