So, you're going to look at the scoreline from Colorado. Then you're going to look at the standings. And you're going to shout something that I can't write here because the takeaways are family-friendly.
I get it. Go on, let it out.
You're right. The Colorado Rapids have been propping up the Western Conference standings for quite a while. And LAFC has been doing quite the opposite.
- COL 1 - 0 LAFC
- 49' COL - Danny Wilson | WATCH
And I know it won't make you feel better when I tell you the Rapids have taken 17 of the last 21 points on offer over the last seven matches - to a finer point on it, Colorado had earned 2 of a possible 33 points prior to that, which explains a lot! The match stats won't help much either - Colorado had just 34 percent of the possession and created just one shot on target from open play.
Because when it comes down to it, this was a night that was crying out for a moment of quality.
Maybe it could have been Adrien Perez smashing that shot into the roof of the net from the center of the box. Or Latif Blessing corraling his touch a bit more through the maze of Rapids defenders and before Tim Howard rushed to smother the ball. Or even Diego Rossi getting the right kind of contact from an acute angle on nearly the last kick of the match.
It really wouldn't have mattered who it was, just that they met the moment. On a night without much football, LAFC didn't meet the moment.
Here are the takeaways from LAFC's 1-0 loss in Colorado:
The tried and true standby for teams looking to put the match on their terms.
Colorado wanted no part of an open match with LAFC. With 11 men behind the ball, they looked to limit any odd-man opportunities and refused to be stretched.
Kei Kamara was a striker on paper but really he was an auxiliary midfielder in practice. Like his teammates, he got behind the ball to form compact lines and was conservative with his forays forward.
It doesn't make for a pretty match. But you don't earn points for aesthetics. It's on LAFC to recognize the game in front of them and apply its football to an even better standard. Tonight, LAFC didn't have the right answers to the problems Colorado posed.
You Couldn't Script It
Not interested in playing football? Then you couldn't have scripted the events tonight any better.
During this recent run of results, Colorado has been fantastic on set pieces. And if you're a side adamant on having players behind the ball, what better gift than a set-piece opener?
Actually... I take that back. When you're trying to slow the game as much as possible, you want a set-piece goal to open the scoring AND a weather delay.
LAFC didn't exactly take the match to the Rapids prior to the delay. But breaking up the rhythm with the halftime interval, followed by a goal off a corner, and then a weather delay titled things in Colorado's favor.
5 Matches In 15 Days
This is the start of a tough run for LAFC.
Out of MLS play for an extended period, the schedule did them no favors in their return.
It's not an excuse, but it is a factor. And Bob Bradley has to manage his team with that in mind. Add in players being away on international duty, and there are going to be nights where changes are necessary.
For what it's worth, I don't think the changes affected the match as much as people might think. And when LAFC made even more changes, bringing on Mohamed El-Munir, Adrien Perez, and Fito Zelaya in the second half, they found their best chances.
Again, it was that crucial touch that eluded them.
On The Bright Side
If you take anything away from this match, it's the confidence of Tristan Blackmon. Talk about changes.
Two months ago, Blackmon was on the outside of the squad looking in. Now, he's a bonafide option for Bob Bradley at right back and he more than held his own at center back against Colorado.
Blackmon played like a player that is finally sure of himself. Multiple times, the second-year man stepped up into the play to win the ball for LAFC. His confidence is miles ahead of the player we saw removed at halftime of the match in Seattle.
With the upcoming run of matches, his emergence could be vital.
Needed A Bit More
If you ask Twitter, I won't be able to shrug my "homer" status anytime soon. But I did find myself wanting a bit more from Carlos Vela in this match.
Vela looked lively from the start but as things progressed he played into Colorado's plans a bit.
The Rapids wanted to grind things to a halt as often as they could. For me, Vela held up play more than he needed to. While he has the freedom to get on the ball and try to make something happen, a better option might have been to find the next pass and move into space. Too often, Vela received the ball with defenders squared to him. In a match like this, you need Vela breaking between the lines to receive the ball, not trying to beat a player from a standstill, then beat the next guy, and sometimes even a third player.
Was that on him or was it a lack of options from the rest of the side? That could be debated.
Vela's form this season has been nothing short of MVP-worthy. I know he wants to be the one that carries LAFC in tough moments. It just felt like he didn't have the right type of ideas in Colorado.