The Colorado Rapids came into the 2018 season with a renewed optimism behind first-year coach Anthony Hudson.
Going winless for a couple of months has taken a toll on the team going into Wednesday’s home matchup with the Chicago Fire.
The Rapids have lost nine straight matches heading into Wednesday’s showdown with Chicago and there is a little bit of turmoil after the team mutually agreed to part ways with midfielder Stefan Ainger last week.
“It’s been a difficult situation and I would say disappointing as well,” Hudson told 9news.com about Ainger. “To start with … it’s been fitness issues. There wasn’t really any improvement there. And myself, the staff, even Stefan to his credit has been honest about it and has said it’s been an issue.”
It’s another tough situation in a season that has been rough for the Rapids (2-2-9). Their last win came April 14 against Toronto and it has been a string of losses since.
They hope to end that Wednesday against the Fire (5-3-7), who sit seventh in the Eastern Conference standings. Chicago is 2-1-1 in its last four matches after a draw against New England last time out.
One of the questions surrounding the Fire is the status of Serbian attacker Aleksander Katai, who is on loan from his Spanish team, Deportivo Alaves of La Liga. His contract runs out with that squad at the end of the 2018-19 season.
It hasn’t always been a pleasant experience in Spain, Katai said.
“I definitely want to stay here because I had some bad moments there in Spain, I was not happy there and here it is a different situation,” Katai told mlssoccer.com. “I play here, I am scoring goals and I am happy here and I hope I will stay, but they need to make a decision.
“I like it too much here, I like the US generally, you know. Chicago is a very nice city, I have family here so it’s very good for me and I am very, very happy here.”
The Fire will have him when try to build on their recent solid play and keep the Rapids from ending their two-month struggle.
Hudson has tried to remain upbeat through the tough times. Lapses and giveaways contributed to a 2-0 loss at the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, which has been a familiar theme in this losing streak. Colorado is last in the Western Conference less than two years after playing Seattle in the conference finals.
The Fire, meanwhile, are dealing with a busy schedule. Wednesday’s match will be the seventh since May 20 and fourth in the last 12 days.
“We’re good,” defender Kevin Ellis told reporters after the draw with New England. “I always say, when you’re not playing games, you complain because you want to play games and when you play a lot of games, guys say ‘Why are we playing so many games?’ Everybody here is enjoying it and enjoying playing more games than training, that’s always more fun. It’s good, it’s coming to an end and we want to end on a high note.”
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