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Robin Fraser answers questions about subbing choices, Namli, Lewis, and the defense

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We covered a lot in the media call today.

John A. Babiak - @Photog_JohnB

Every week, Colorado Rapids Head Coach Robin Fraser speaks to members of the media ahead of the next game. These sessions are usually held after training, but in COVID times, trainings are closed and the availability has transitioned to Zoom calls. This week in particular, Fraser answered many of the questions that fans have been asking and talked about how the club is preparing for FC Dallas on Wednesday night.

Questions came from myself, Jake Shapiro of the Denver Post, and Matt Pollard of Last Word on Soccer.

Coach Fraser’s thoughts about the Real Salt Lake match and the quick turnaround:

“My general thoughts are we were not happy with how the game ended the other day. Again, we had some good moments, but felt definitely like we didn’t do as well as we needed to as that game went on, so it’s good to have the opportunity to get back at it sooner rather than later.”

“I think without a doubt, guys were disappointed in how the game finished the other night and the feeling is that the sooner we can get back and try to get back to what we think of as ourselves, the better.”

Their approach to playing FC Dallas:

“They’re a well-coached team that is very meticulous in how they want to pick teams apart. Certainly, they’re a team that if you fall asleep, they’ll be able to get through quite quickly. And they have a number of good attacking players. So, they’re a team that if they can unbalance you and expose weaknesses, they definitely have players who can hurt you.

In terms of how we’re going to attack them, we have to continue to be diligent in what it is that we do and continue to work to get into good attacking spots to create uncertainty for them and then be able to capitalize when we do.”

How Jonathan Lewis has progressed and what he needs to do to become a consistent starter:

“He’s an exciting young player. And he has to do what any young player needs to do... continue to learn—not just the physical side of it, but the mental side of it. He’s really worked hard on his defending, which is something that certainly has improved his game...

You talk about how do you become a consistent starter? You really have to outplay guys day in and day out. And certainly he’s had brilliant moments and he’s got a really bright future and he’s moving, as you’d expect him to be at his age.”

We’ve heard a lot about roster depth, so why is he leaving subs on the bench when the team is losing:

“You know, it seems like when the team is on the field, oftentimes they’re a pass away or a certain play away from clicking and you see that and you see that the group is on the verge of something good, so you end up staying with them for a while. At the end of the day, you’re hesitant to make changes within the game, given the fact that you feel that players’ fitness is good. So it’s not like you feel like it’s a fitness issue, you feel like they’re just on the cusp of getting something.”

The choice to play Younes Namli on the wing vs. as the #10:

“Considering he could have had four or five assists on Saturday and almost scored a goal himself, I think he’s been pretty effective there. If you think about Kansas City, the first game we did that, and how effective he was against them in that position. He’s a tremendously difficult player to deal with when he’s one-on-one. And I think a lot of the left backs that he’s playing against are starting to think that, so he’s been able to create quite a bit for us from that position.”

On Kortne Ford’s surgery today and what exactly it was for:

“To be honest, I can’t exactly [comment on the surgery] because his deal is so complicated and intricate. We know he’s had continuous issues with swelling in his knee and he’s been to so many specialists. He’s really rested at nothing to try to get this alleviated and he’s been to see everyone that he can see and really has been to see so many specialists to finally get a surgery that we hope is going to have him turn the corner is a great thing.”

Are the centerback changes due to injury, fitness, or trying to find the right fit?

“It’s a matter of trying to find the right fit, trying to find the right fit for the entire team... the fact of the matter is we have a number of good players and it’s continuously looking to see what the best combination of players is.”

Other notes from the call:

  • William Yarbrough is the starting keeper for now, but Clint Irwin is healthy and available.

Kei Kamara has been nursing a minor knock for the past 10 days.