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Andre Shinyashiki wants to play striker, thinks the Colorado Rapids can score more goals

The intense Andre Shinyashiki is serious about scoring for the Rapids, says his best position is striker

John Babiak, Burgundy Wave

Speaking with Andre Shinyashiki about soccer and the Colorado Rapids, you immediately recognize the intensity with which he approaches his job.

When he’s discussing general life in Denver or his time relaxing in the off-season with family and friends back home in Brazil, he smiles and laughs a bit more. When we start discussing on-the-pitch details, the determined look on his face and his tone shows a bit more of his stern desire as a player.

That’s how serious Andre is about his role as a goalscorer in Colorado and how much he wants to succeed on the pitch. He is perfectly content working hard in training and letting the minutes come when the coaching staff sees fit.

“I feel great……just waiting for the opportunity; that’s the easiest way to describe it,” he tells Burgundy Wave just after a training session. “I feel good; I feel fit, I feel like I’m sharp and been training well, so ultimately, it’s up to the coach to decide who plays. I’m just putting myself in the conversation, giving him a bit of a headache, so that’s my job.”

The DU grad explains his job as a professional soccer player can be full of ups and downs, and Shinyashiki has seen this in his young career.

“The professional-athlete life is a little bit of a roller coaster, you’re up, and you’re down, and you never know what will come next,” he says. “From a mental standpoint, it is hard. It’s a long season, there’s going to be many things that happen throughout the season, so you just need to always stay ready.”

As the 2019 Rookie of the Year in MLS, Shinyashiki has the stats and self-belief of what he can do on the pitch. He’s scored 16 goals for Colorado in four seasons of play; seven came in that freshman season. Shinyashiki has netted one in 2022, and his stats rank high over the last year in nearly every category compared to other wingers in the league, according to Football Reference.

Still, his MLS minutes so far in 2022 have come in small doses of seven, 16, 17, 25 and five, all as a substitute. Andre is ready when called upon for more and has the work ethic to enter a match completely focused on the team’s success.

“Coming into the games as a sub, you don’t get 90 minutes to prove yourself; you get 10, maybe 20,” the Brazilan said. “You just have to come in ready and give 100%. Obviously, it’s hard but you need to believe you can change the game from the position you’re put in.”

The Rapids fanbase has been very vocal about wanting the team to bring in a “No. 9” to push the squad to where they expect. Ask him, and Andre’s favored position is one he feels can help the team most—scoring goals from a position up top.

“You want to help the team, but you also have to think about where you’re at your best. For me, that’s playing at striker,” explains Shinyashiki, who absolutely reiterates he’s not only suited for that role when called upon, but wherever the coaching staff feel is best for him to contribute with his work rate. “I like playing at striker, I feel that’s I’m at my best, but if the coach decides I need to do another job I will happily do it for the team. It’s finding that happy balance between yourself and the team. First, you have to be a team player and do whatever is asked of you, but personally, for me, I’d like to play as a striker. That’s where I feel I’m at my best when I’m close to the goal, near the box, I feel like I can make things better.”

John Babiak, Burgundy Wave

The Rapids have seen a bit of an up-and-down start to MLS in 2022. They’ve continued an excellent run of form at home, extending their unbeaten streak to nineteen games dating back to last season, while struggling to score on the road. Colorado has netted seven goals total over five games which is actually tied for third-most in the west. But supporters in hope of the club taking a step forward have seen the Rapids bounced from the playoffs via shutout two years in a row and feel striker is a position of need.

But Shinyashiki has already been around long enough to know you have to ride the waves over a long season in MLS while not being satisfied where things currently sit. “I think it’s important to be solid throughout the whole season, have those ups and downs, but never get too high or too low.”

“To me, I think we’re defending well as a group, looking very solid,” he says confidently. “We need to create more chances, ultimately, I think that’s something we lack. Being more clinical in the final third I think we need to do more of that. For me, I believe I need to be sharper in the final third.”

“Scoring goals is the hardest thing to do but for us we know it’s a lot of ways we can score - those set pieces, crosses, 1v1s, we have a lot of quality players.”

To Andre’s point, Colorado’s seven goals thus far have been a good mix scored by five different players, including his goal against Atlanta in the home opener, from both the run of play and set-piece situations.

“For us, it’s just putting ourselves in the situations of being really sharp when those moments come. I think we can score in a multitude of ways which I think is why teams find it very hard to stop us.”

Don’t doubt that Shinyashiki will continue to make an impact for the Rapids in 2022 and the work he puts in at training will pay off as his minutes increase. Until then, Andre is focused on the challenge of keeping himself physically and mentally set do so soon. “It’s really mental. It’s just staying sharp, staying ready. I know right now I’m not getting as many opportunities as I’d like, but ultimately, I need to be ready for when those moments come.”

“Emotionally, it’s just as important staying level-headed, not getting too high when you score a goal, not getting too low when you’re not playing, so it’s just having that belief that you got here for a reason and that you’re going to make things happen.”