The Colorado Rapids secured the Western Conference's top seed in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs and clinched a berth in the 2022 Concacaf Champions League in an entertaining and goal-filled Decision Day match, defeating LAFC 5-2 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. LAFC were eliminated from postseason contention.
Paired with the Seattle Sounders' draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps and a Sporting Kansas City draw with Real Salt Lake, the Rapids sealed home-field advantage in the West and their first CCL appearance since 2018.
Colorado broke through in the 18th minute as Jonathan Lewis had a perfect touch past Jamar Blackman on a Kellyn Acosta cross to make it a 1-0 lead. LAFC, needing a win and some help to clinch their own playoff berth, saw a massive chance to equalize go begging in the 26th as Cristian Arango had an open net but fired it off the post. Bob Bradley would then insert Carlos Vela into the match at the half-hour mark as he sought to spark the attack.
Just minutes later, though, a Collen Warner shot inside the box deflected into the net off Blackman as the Rapids' lead grew to 2-0.
Lewis struck once more early in the second half to finish off his brace and increase the margin to 3-0, but Arango shook off his earlier miss shortly thereafter by converting past William Yarbrough to cut the lead to 3-1. But less than 10 minutes later, Cole Bassett gave himself space to knock in a banger from outside the box as the Rapids regained their three-goal cushion.
LAFC, though, kept themselves in it as Brian Rodriguez's shot deflected off Steven Beitashour and past Yarbrough to make it a 4-2 affair with less than 20 minutes to go. But Dominique Badji made it 5-2 just minutes after entering the match.
- 18' - COL - Jonathan Lewis
- 33' - COL - Collen Warner
- 53' - COL - Jonathan Lewis
- 55' - LAFC - Cristian Arango
- 63' - COL - Cole Bassett
- 71' - LAFC - Brian Rodriguez
- 80' - COL - Dominique Badji
- THE BIG PICTURE: The Rapids treated their fans to a classy performance to end the regular season. Robin Fraser deserves much credit for his work with the club in getting them to back-to-back playoff appearances after three straight years out of the postseason. For LAFC, questions abound after a disappointing campaign: Will Bob Bradley return in 2022? What about Carlos Vela, whose contract is set to expire next month?
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Jonathan Lewis was very much in the mood for goals on Decision Day. Here's his second of the match as he put the Rapids up 3-0.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Lewis was a key figure in an impressive showing for the Rapids. The 24-year-old logged his first multi-goal performance in over two years.
- LAFC: End of season