Colorado Rapids

Fieldside Chat | Midweek check-in with Djordje Mihailovic and Chris Armas 

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Midfielder Djordje Mihailovic

On the matchup with Miami

I hope Messi plays because when you play against the best it brings the best out of yourselves. And also, they are another quality team like we just played in the weekend. If we can get a good result, then it proves that what we're doing is correct and it keeps the momentum going.

On blocking out the noise around a high-profile team like Miami and focusing on the competition itself

It’s difficult to set your emotions aside for this. You grew up watching these players play at the highest level and now you get to play against them in one game. When the whistle blows, it's a competition, we’re fighting for the three points as much as they are. There's some respect that must be there, but not too much. And throughout the week, we just have to do our best to analyze where the weaknesses are.

On Chris Armas' philosophy of progress over perfection

It's like, ‘What's perfection?’ What are you striving for—there's no end to the sport, to becoming a better player. I think when you retire, you look back and see the journey. In the first few weeks, maybe the performance from myself wasn't what was expected, and these are moments that I appreciate because I know it's not gonna last forever, it's gonna make me a better player. And there's a lot of things that I have to juggle. I like to use this last game as a nice bounce forward into the next game. Coach is always striving to be better. You look at the best players, they’re never satisfied, the best teams are never satisfied, teams that win trophies are always fighting harder the next year to win another one. So this is the kind of thing that we're going for.

On young players making an impact

I don't think it matters about age, if you're good enough, then I think you're gonna show it. Yes, they’re in their first years--Moïse is 24, Kimani is 19—but if you're good enough, you're old enough. They're performing well, they're helping the team win. And that's all the coaches can ask for, that's all the players can ask for.


Head Coach Chris Armas

On the upcoming matchup with Miami

We're back at training this week, just back to preparation, back to work, trying to learn and improve from our last performance, try to ride some momentum from a really good win at home. Every next game becomes the most important game of the year, so against a Miami team that we know is really well-coached with Tata Martino, who we know well, and a really talented team. Not sure exactly how they line up, we know they've done different things—three in the back, four in the back, with Messi, without Messi—but regardless, they're a really good team, an even better team at home, so we have a lot of work to do to prepare. We're excited to go there and play against Miami for the first time that we ever have as the Rapids and we love the challenge.

On the team's injury report

Johnny Lewis, we’ll miss him for now, it's still hard to tell with a knee injury that [whether] it’s four weeks, eight weeks. We're not totally sure but we’ll be without him for a short term for sure. And Jasper is getting close [to return], he's without pain in his soft tissue and hamstring and we're likely to have him back in a couple of games, so he's looking strong. Andreas Maxsø has got his nose set, so he's got to wear the mask still but he'll be back in training tomorrow. Connor Ronan’s doing all right, doing some light jogging on ultra gravity. We have to reassess that every few weeks with him but he's going to be at least another month, I'd say.

On the progress seen since the season opener with Portland

What I'd say about the Portland game, the team just showed a lot of character and fight. And I've seen many teams are in our league, around the world go down four-nil in an opening match of the season, you could crumble, and our team didn't crumble. And that's what was important from that Portland game, that we showed fight grit and wouldn't give in. On that day, I think we all showed ourselves—staff and players—that we did our personal part of who we are, that DNA from early on, was going to be that we were hard to beat. So, internally, we have our expectations and standards. Home and away, we play to win. We'll go to Miami to win, to attack, [all while] knowing we have a really tough opponent, we're not naive that way. It'll take another performance of us being at our best. That's the standard.

On Moïse Bombito, Kimani Stewart-Baynes and Mihailovic all getting first goals and assists with the club this past weekend

I told Moïse, ‘This is your first MLS goal, hopefully it's not your last, we’ll see the next one at some point.’ It's really nice to see a set piece goal, these guys work really hard at this. [Chris] Sharpe does a good job with them and they're attentive, they put a lot of time into this. So to see Moïse get rewarded for that is great. And then equally important that Djordje Mihailovich gets on the score sheet, two goals and assists—really important for his confidence. You can see what it meant to him and the team in terms of what we're doing style-of-play-wise, we're trying to just get into certain areas, try to be clinical and when we get into certain areas, upgrading our shots with different metrics and things that we know—where goals come from and how they're scored. It's still the hardest thing to do in football, but we have created some chances this year we haven't capitalized on and in this game we score three, we create a few more. There's a few of these moments where we just want to reward ourselves for the team, for some some fairly good play this year and we'll keep working at it. This is this is not gonna go away, we're gonna keep trying to work at scoring because we do want to attack and that's where I give the team, the staff, all of us, we try. We played to win the game against LAFC from the opening whistle. We wanted to attack them and we knew they'd put us in a tough game but even when we went to two strikers it was an attacking substitute and tactical shift because we wanted to win the match. I'm glad that we got rewarded. The match before, Mihailovic says ‘Look, I'd rather lose going forward.’ When we brought on Kimani [Stewart-Baynes] we really pushed the game to win. We'll continue to be aggressive and smart while doing so. But we want to really live by what we say, we want to be an attacking team.