LAFC vs Colorado Rapids
MLS 2021 Season - Match Six
Saturday, May 22, 2021
7:30 p.m. PT
TV: My13 KCOP, Estrella TV
RADIO: ESPN LA 1110 AM, ESPN App (Audio), KFWB 980 AM
Another match, another tough result for LAFC after they faced Supporters’ Shield leading Seattle Sounders FC for the second time in this young 2021 season. Although the Black & Gold fought hard through a strong first half, the Club couldn’t muster enough to put together a full match and found themselves stuck with their first shutout loss of the season 2-0.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, there are positives abound looking at the next match against the Colorado Rapids.
“I think the response from the group and training this week has been good. Looking back on Seattle, as I said, after the game, a real rivalry, a tough team,” said LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley. “I thought we played pretty well in the first half. In the moment, though, still, when we create some advantages, we’ve got a lot of balls in their half and we weren't able to be dangerous enough.”
Back to the positives, the Club has a number of elements working in their favor as the look towards the Rapids this Saturday night at home. Although LAFC is currently on back-to-back losses, they have never dropped three regular season matches in a row. Since 2018, the Club holds the best record at home for MLS regular season play, losing just four matches (31-4-15), W-L-D) and collecting 108 points. In the all-time series against Colorado at home, LAFC is 2-0-0 (5 GF, 1 GA). Not to mention, the return of Carlos Vela to full health is developing positively with every coming day.
However, the statistics don’t show the full picture, either. Colorado opened this current season on strong footing with a 3-1-1 start and currently sit nine positions ahead of LAFC in the Western Conference table. Also noteworthy, the Rapids have found a new groove under Head Coach Robin Fraser who was hired in late August 2019, and LAFC has only faced them once since (10/6/2019 – a 3-1 win for LAFC). In fact, the Club hasn’t even faced the Rapids since that match in 2019, so this match will mark some uncharted territory for LAFC.
The Rapids are a young team with a strong defensive identity; they feature a low-block defending style often with six players in the back, something that on paper does not bode well for an LAFC squad that has had difficulties executing in their opponents final third. Colorado is also a young team that runs very hard both defensively and on the attack. Forward Diego Rubio has been on a recent tear too, scoring in two of the Rapids last three matches.
Much for the Rapids has changed since LAFC last met them in 2019. Current Head Coach Robin Fraser, who Colorado has excelled under, was only a few months into his tenure in their last matchup. LAFC faced most Western Conference clubs multiple times last season, but the one matchup between the two clubs last year was postponed as a result of multiple COVID-19 cases on the Rapids side.
On another note, though, that while this territory is certainly not “uncharted,” because of an increase in vaccinated zones and sections at Banc of California Stadium this weekend, the Club will have the most fans in the stands since early 2020. “I mean, whenever we have fans in our stadium it makes a huge difference for us," said LAFC newcomer Corey Baird. “The way they cheer us on the way they're just shouting and singing the whole game makes a huge difference. So, it's gonna definitely help us a lot to have more and more fans back at the stadium in a safe way.
LAFC WILL WIN IF
The Club can execute in the final third. LAFC has had no issue moving the ball up the pitch, but have had serious trouble executing well and finishing off chances when they are on the advantage.
COLORADO CAN WIN IF
They can win second balls. They are a squad that runs hard to open balls and if they find a ball in transition it could spell success.