Stefan Aigner - Colorado Rapids - in training
Courtesy of the Colorado Rapids

Rapids' Hudson on Stefan Aigner's lack of play time: "Ball is in his court"

Stefan Aigner arrived in Colorado last summer with the hope that he could help spark the Rapids' moribund attack, which would go on to finish the year tied for a league-worst 31 goals.

But after scoring twice as he locked down a starting spot for the final five games of the season, the German Bundesliga veteran is nowhere to be found for the Rapids in 2018, with just 11 substitute minutes to his name across 12 games in all competitions.

In March, Hudson told ProSoccerUSA.com that Aigner's slow start to the season could be attributed to a variety of factors, including illness, a slight injury, and a trip back to Germany to obtain his visa and US green card. Now, Hudson said, Aigner's recent absences have been due to fitness issues, and in an interview with 9news.com's Cealey Godwin, he made it clear that onus to get back on the field lies entirely on the 30-year-old midfielder.

"It’s been a difficult situation and I would say disappointing as well," said Hudson, who took the reins from interim head coach Steve Cooke in November 2017. "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."

Hudson said that he and Aigner have had frequent discussions about the player's fitness and they had explored various solutions, including giving Aigner an extra day of rest and a change in position, all to little avail.

Now, Hudson says, Aigner needs to seize his chance to show Hudson that he deserves a spot in the starting XI. He also clarified expected Aigner, who has appeared in over 200 games in Germany's top two divisions, was expected to be a key part of the team, but that he was looking for more buy-in.

"He’s a very, very important player. He’s a player who has been brought in as an experienced player, a big player, and we’re trying to find a way to solve the situation. Now none of that has really worked. What the disappointing part is we need to see a willingness to help the team. Help the team win and we haven’t seen that yet."

Added Hudson: ”The ball really is in his court. I’m still open. I don’t think I’ve ever given this many opportunities to a player in my life. But we also need him so if the time came where he was willing, then the door is open.”

Hudson also discussed the response to his team's recent five-game losing streak, which has them anchored to the bottom of the Western Conference standings, and the Rapids' upcoming match against the red-hot Portland Timbers on Saturday evening (9 pm ET | ESPN+ - full TV & streaming info). You can check out the full interview here.

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