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Rapids center back Danny Wilson: This team’s more than capable of surprising people

John A. Babiak - @Photog_JohnB

Off the top of your burgundy brain, which current Colorado Rapids player was a club captain at 21 years of age, represented his country at four levels, and has featured in both the Europa and Champions League?

At just 29 years old, Danny Wilson has had what some should consider a full career already. However, the Scottish defender has found a group of teammates in Colorado that he believes in enough to stick around Commerce City and take the next steps with the club as his contract ran out with 2020.

“I was happy to stay, I was enjoying my football, I was enjoying my life outside of football — it plays a huge aspect in that so I was happy to come back,” Danny admitted to the Burgundy Wave about re-signing for another two years with the club. “I didn’t feel the need to move on or try anything new. You look at something, and you see it’s going in the right direction when you’ve been here for periods of time where it’s not maybe gone the way you’ve hoped, then you get to the stage when you feel the team can be successful and you want to be a part of it. I was happy to re-sign and look forward to this season and we’ll hopefully have some more success.”

“Towards the end of last season I felt we were in a good place as a team, myself in a good place within the team, so if it’s not broke don’t fix it,” Wilson said with plenty of praise for his teammates. “I do generally feel that we have a team in the making of being very, very good.”

“I know the level of player we have here – it’s a very high level. We’ve got a team that’s comfortable for anybody to come in at any time. It’s a squad game, and as a squad, it’s been as strong as it’s been since I’ve been here,” the veteran added matter-of-factly.

One would think individuals want to protect their own minutes instead of looking around for someone to jump ahead of them. But that’s one of the key components to the Rapids squad — the team mentality that it’s the group that matters most and not any one player.

“I know the level of player I work with day-in and day-out and I’m happy that we’ve got so many good players. Good competition is healthy and in any environment you’ve got people pushing people to be the best they can possibly be. We have that and that’s another reason I’m looking forward to this year because I know that 1-11 we’re strong, but beyond that to 24, 25 the boys there will be chomping at the bit ready to play,” the center back said.

A large part of Colorado’s resurgence as of late is down to more hard-nosed work rather than the flashy play many higher-profile teams are lauded for. That has begun to show particularly in the backline where goals allowed per game were down last season. This was due, in part, to Colorado defenders staying in their lane, so to speak. “We’re not players in the back expected to go and beat players forward. It’s our job to try to stop attacks, stop counter-attacks, and get the ball to the more talented players on the team... we feel that everybody knows their jobs on the pitch, and the system we play everybody knows their role.”

In fact, Wilson has been versatile enough in his roles to be pushed up from his usual center back and fill in occasionally for Jack Price at defensive midfield due to his ability to play with his feet as well. “Football’s constantly changing but the fundamentals remain the same. It’s just about keeping myself fit, keeping myself available for selection, knowing my job when I go in to play — whether that be with the ball or without the ball — communicating with the guys around me, things that are very straightforward for a center back.”

“For me, it’s all about communication, concentration, helping the guys around you, helping the guys in front, be communicating from the back.”

Another recurring theme for Colorado is the fact that media and fans outside of the Rocky Mountains don’t really give the Rapids much notice, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing according to Wilson. “The perception from the outside is we’re still probably not one of the teams that’s a banker for the playoffs and I think that’s kind of how we like it. We like to go about our business,” said the Scottish international.

“This team’s more than capable of surprising those people. Some might say other teams might be strong this year and we’ll be an afterthought again and if people want to treat us that way that’s their opinion. We know in the changing room that we’re more than capable.”