Gyasi Zardes is now in sync with how the Colorado Rapids want to attack. Now, he’s ready to build on it.
Colorado Rapids assistant coach Wolde Harris has been around several notable strikers as a player and coach.
Even in his first few months with the Rapids, Gyasi Zardes has stood out. The 30-year-old has long been lauded for his goal-scoring knack and professionalism.
Harris, the coach behind the Rapids’ attack, has been cultivating a deep sense of trust between Zardes and the Rapids’ fellow attacking unit.
“It starts with a conversation and goes deeper,” Harris said.
For Zardes, building both trust and the creative side of Colorado’s attack starts in the film room.
“I love it, man. We go over so much film, I feel like a kid learning again,” Zardes said. “… (Harris is) always so curious on my thoughts on the play and then he gives me his opinion. I love taking his opinion and also mine and trying to apply it within the next game. That’s how I feel like I’m becoming a better striker and that’s how I’m learning.”
Harris described that simple exchange of ideas not only as critical, but it helps him help with preparing Zardes’ teammates for what cues to look for on when to press together, as well as the types of passes and runs to make. That has led to much more cohesion in the past few weeks. The Rapids went from a team nearly dead in the water to a team hunting for the playoffs, just one win below the line.
“The sharing of ideas is definitely a fun thing for myself,” Harris said. “Now I get to understand Gyasi and the way he thinks — and this goes for all of our attackers. I’m better equipped with that understanding to help them gain and recognize more opportunities, or recognize cues to help sustain possession or get goal-scoring opportunities.”
The Rapids (6-8-6, 24 points) are unbeaten in their last three, and Zardes has played a key role, scoring in each of the last two games. He has built strong connections with Jonathan Lewis, Michael Barrios, and Diego Rubio.
Even when he had a dry spell to start his season — one goal in his first 10 games — Zardes looked across the locker room and saw how others were performing and pushed himself to get back into form through practice and film work.
“This group and this locker room, I mean, they really help me a lot,” Zardes said. “They’re always like ‘Hey, G, they’ll come. We see the hard work you’ve been doing. And when they tell me that it motivates me to work even harder. So, I’m thankful for this team and coaching staff that they’ve always got my back when things are not falling my way.”
The coaching staff knew what Zardes was capable of.
“Gyasi is the same guy whether he scores 20 goals, whether he scores three goals,” Rapids head coach Robin Fraser said last weekend. “His work attitude in training is gonna be the exact same. His approach is gonna be the same…Whatever happens, you get 100% commitment, 100% effort.”
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