The Black & Gold's MLS hiatus is finally coming to an end.
It was far from short. LAFC last played a regular-season match nearly four weeks ago. But despite the break, Bob Bradley's team has remained sharp, winning both of its knockout matches in the U.S. Open Cup.
In classic MLS-style, LAFC's nearly month-long break from League play is immediately followed by one of the most congested time periods in 2019. On Friday, LAFC faces the Colorado Rapids in Colorado before traveling to Sporting KC in midweek and then back at home for its first home MLS match since late May.
That's three matches in nine days. And it doesn't get any easier from there. With the Open Cup quarterfinals taking place on July 10, LAFC comes off right off this stretch of matches into another 17-day stretch with four matches.
Got all that? Good.
Let's take a look at the unofficial start to the second half of LAFC's season as they travel to take on the Colorado Rapids on Friday:
LAFC at Colorado Rapids | June 28 at 7pm
Where To Watch
TV: UníMas & Streaming on Twitter
Radio: ESPNLA 710, KFWB 980
Official LAFC Watch Party: R Bar in Long Beach
What a difference a change makes. Newly appointed Rapids head coach Conor Casey has his team doing a complete turnaround from its early season form. Outside of LAFC, the Colorado Rapids are the hottest team in MLS currently with an unbeaten streak of six matches and four wins in that time frame. And it probably should be five wins. The Rapids held an early 2-0 lead over the Vancouver Whitecaps. Casey's team had to settle for a share of the points though, as the Whitecaps found a way back into the match through two set pieces.
What The Team Is Saying
Tristan Blackmon on playing at altitude in Colorado: "We're all in great shape right now. I don't think we look at that as a factor that should influence the way we're going to play. We're excited for the game, and we're going to play the same way we always do."
Pablo Sisniega on the congested schedule coming up: "We know we have a lot of tough games coming up in the next two weeks. We know everyone is going to be involved and we're trying to get prepared for that. We'll be ready to take advantage of those opportunities that we're going to get."
LAFC Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3): Pablo Sisniega; Jordan Harvey, Eddie Segura, Tristan Blackmon, Steven Beitashour; Eduard Atuesta, Latif Blessing, Lee Nguyen; Diego Rossi, Adama Diomande, Carlos Vela.
What To Watch For
Unbeaten Streaks: These two sides enter this match with the longest unbeaten streaks in MLS. We've already spoken about Colorado's six-match unbeaten run, but LAFC have an eight-match run of their own - 10 matches if you count Open Cup. With both these streaks on the line, could we see one come to an end on Friday?
Vela's Scoring Run: Speaking of streaks, it's time for the MVP frontrunner to get back to work. Carlos Vela has scored five matches on the bounce - seven matches in all competitions. Vela is on a goal per game thus far in 2019. The Rapids have conceded more goals than any other in MLS. Sounds like a recipe for goals.
Sisniega's Debut: We've seen him do it in the Open Cup, now Pablo Sisniega gets his first chance in MLS play. LAFC's No. 1 Tyler Miller is likely to be away with the U.S. Men's National Team for at least another week. Sisniega knows he'll keep his spot for this match and likely the next. But he'll be eager to carry his Open Cup from into MLS play and give Bob Bradley a real decision to make when Miller returns.