Jamaican forward Kevaughn Frater has shown flashes of brilliance. Now, the Colorado Switchbacks coaches are looking for that caliber of play on a more consistent basis.
Frater took a big step in that direction over the past two games. He scored both goals in a 2-1 road win at the LA Galaxy II on June 10 that garnered him the franchise's first United Soccer League player of the week honor.
He followed that up by creating the scoring chance that led to an assist on Colorado Springs' only goal in a 2-1 road loss Wednesday at Swope Park in Kansas City.
Colorado Springs will need those two good games to be the beginning of a trend for the 22-year-old.
"This was a few weeks ago, but we had to sit down with him and tell him what we really needed from him," coach Steve Trittschuh said. "From that point on he has been doing it pretty well. Technically, he is a handful. Give him time and he will finish the goals. We have seen spurts of this but he has to be consistent with it. He is going to be a marked man now (after USL honor) and he will have to battle through it."
Count defender Josh Phillips among those expecting Frater to do so. The 5-foot-11 forward has the ball-handling ability to make defenders look silly but he also has the strength on the ball to break down foes one-on-one.
"This is my third year in the league and as far as potential in a young guy, his is bar none," Phillips said. "He is so strong, so athletic, reads the game really well and I think he is starting to believe (in himself). He is a force to reckon with even in practice. He is one of the strongest guys I have ever played against."
The foundation of Frater's success lies in his technical abilities, an aspect emphasized while growing up in Kingston playing for Harbour View, where he was the leading scorer (seven goals) in 2015.
He was loaned to the Real Monarchs SLC last season (19 games, one goal) but he did not fit in as well there as he does in the counterattacking style of the Switchbacks.
"In Jamaica they focus a lot more on technical work but here is more about positioning and tactical," Frater said. "With my technical ability and physical attributes I know I can succeed if I work hard and stay focused on the tactical side. The key attribute to have as center forward is to hold the ball and let my teammates get forward. I know if I trust my teammates to step up we can get some chances."
Frater did not thrive in Utah, but he showed enough then and over the winter in Jamaica to make the Switchbacks take notice.
"(Assistant) Wolde (Harris) was able to see him while he was training with his team (Harbour View) and thought he looked sharp," Trittschuh said. "He is still learning."
Since arriving in Colorado Springs, Frater has focused on being more sound defensively.
"(Trittschuh) is pretty straightforward," he said. "If you are not doing it, you aren't going in."
If he does that, Frater has a chance to be a standout in the USL.
"We have been telling him that he has the ability to (bust out offensively) and with us, we require our forwards to even defend too," Trittschuh said. "He is starting to understand that part. For him to score the two goals is good for us because he is much better when he plays with confidence. But now, the thing is he needs to be consistent with it. We need that consistency from him. Hopefully he will do that this week."