Tyler Miller Calls For Ball Against NE 180922 IMG

Preview: LAFC at Colorado Rapids

Hopefully, by now you've gotten the bad taste from the match in Chicago out of your mouth. LAFC fell completely flat on its first trip to the Windy City. But all is not lost. 

Ahead of this weekend's matches, LAFC knows its "win and you're in" for a playoff berth. Three points in Colorado would clinch a playoff spot in the Club's first season, and make a whole lot of people feel better about the last away match - there are other scenarios that would result in the Black & Gold clinching, but let's just focus on the three points.

Here's a look at LAFC's second to last away of the season:

Where To Watch

LAFC at Colorado Rapids, October 6 at 6:00pm PT

TV:  YouTube TV (prematch show starts at 5:30pm), UníMas 46

Radio: ESPNLA 710, KFWB 980

Opponent Form

Colorado hasn't captured a single point since before the last time these two teams met back on August 19. The Rapids are in the midst of a six-match losing streak - their second of the 2018 season - over which time they've been outscored 19-1. They return home after a 4-0 defeat to the Sounders up in Seattle.

What The Team Is Saying

Benny Feilhaber on what went wrong in Chicago: "To me, it didn't look like there was much of a connection in terms of counterpressing. So when we lost the ball, we made it too easy for them to have possession. The closest guy to the ball always has to be ready to create that first pressure, and then the other guys have to be ready to press the guys in and around the ball. Really the difference between a good team, which we are, compared to a great team all over the world is how effective you can win the ball back. Good teams are able to possess the ball and create opportunities, and the great teams are able to really limit the possessions for the other team. That's one thing we still don't do well enough."

Bob Bradley on the lessons from the first match against the Rapids: "Colorado came in that day and really tried to press. Again, we talk about different kinds of games. Sometimes, a game starts out fast and you don't really get any rhythm or control. But you have to fight through the early part of the game and little by little look to put the game on your terms. What I liked about that game is that it was hard work, it didn't come easy, but then over the last 20 minutes or so in the first half, little by little we got the game going the way we want. We stepped up higher on them, we won more balls in the attacking half, we started to connect passes faster, and then eventually, that helps you win a game."

LAFC Projected Starting XI

(4-3-3): Tyler Miller; Jordan Harvey, Walker Zimmerman, Danilo Silva, Steven Beitashour; Eduard Atuesta, Benny Feilhaber, Lee Nguyen; Diego Rossi, Adama Diomande, Carlos Vela.

What To Watch For

The Bounce Back: One of the things LAFC probably doesn't get enough credit for is how it bounces back after disappointing performances. It's not too rare for a bad match to turn into a bad month for expansion teams. Luckily, LAFC has been able to right the ship in most cases. After a 5-0 loss in Atlanta, the Black & Gold went on a six-match unbeaten streak kicked off by a run of three wins in a row. And most recently, after a run of five matches without a win, LAFC flipped the script to go six unbeaten again. 

Winning The Ball Back: Benny Feilhaber made mention of it to the media after training. LAFC was abysmal when it came to winning the ball back in Chicago. Regardless of tactics, the problem stemmed from a lack of effort. As Feilhaber said, it falls to the closest player to the ball to provide the first wave of pressure. Too often against Chicago, that player was nowhere to be found or too slow to react. That forces players farther from the ball to cope with the player, which is a bit of a chain reaction when it comes to opening spaces for opponents. LAFC can't have that happen against Colorado. Keep an eye on LAFC players as the ball is turned over. If the Black & Gold are applying pressure right away, more than likely they'll be successful come the end of 90 minutes.

Step By Step: LAFC has four matches to end its inaugural season, and while there are so many possible goals for the Club, it has to start with clinching a playoff spot. You can talk about top of the conference, most points ever by an expansion, etc. but those things only fall into place if you take them in the right order. So this trip to Colorado all starts and end with three points. Get three points and you're in the playoffs. From there, anything is possible. But it has to start with the first step.