COMMERCE CITY, Colo. ― After cruising to a third consecutive victory on Saturday, the Colorado Rapids (3-1-1, 10 points) head back on the road to take on Los Angeles FC (1-2-2, 5 points) on Saturday, May 22. Kickoff is set for 8:30 PM at Banc of California Stadium, with pregame coverage starting at 8 PM on Altitude Sports and 8:15 PM on Altitude Sports Radio 950 AM.
“We’re certainly looking forward to what we think is going to be a huge challenge,” Rapids head coach Robin Fraser said. “Regardless of where they are in the standings right now, LAFC is one of the best teams in the league. That’s clear and obvious to everyone. Certainly, we’re going to need to be at our best to be able to get a result.”
In their last match against Houston Dynamo FC, the Rapids jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with goals from defender Sam Vines and forward Diego Rubio on a pair of assists from winger Michael Barrios. The 30-year-old Colombian earned his first assist in Burgundy after running in behind and connecting with Vines in the box for his first goal of the season in the 29th minute. Then in the 36th minute, Barrios placed a perfectly weighted cross that found the head of Rubio for the Chilean’s second goal of 2021. Christian Ramirez pulled Houston within one in the 39th, but 19-year-old midfielder Cole Bassett’s smart work on the press yielded his second goal in as many games just three minutes later to secure a 3-1 win.
Bassett and Rubio lead Colorado with two goals apiece, with each player scoring both their goals during the current winning streak. Barrios’ two-assist performance against Houston tied him with club captain Jack Price for the team lead on the year.
No other team has been as good on the road as the Rapids under Fraser. Since Fraser’s first game at the helm on Aug. 31, 2019, Colorado is 8-5-2 (W-L-D) on the road, which is the best road record in MLS since then. Their eight wins and 1.73 points per game are also the most on the road in MLS in that time. The Rapids are one of two teams in MLS (Philadelphia) to post two clean sheets in both road games in 2021.
Colorado can also reach its first four-game winning streak under Fraser with a victory on Saturday. The Burgundy Boys started the winning run with a 1-0 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on May 2 before a thrilling, come-from-behind, 3-2 win over Minnesota on May 8. The Rapids last won four consecutive MLS matches in 2003.
This is the first meeting of the season between these teams and the first since October 2019, when the Rapids fell, 3-1, in Los Angeles. The Rapids beat LAFC, 1-0, at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park in June 2019.
Los Angeles enters the match after losing 2-0 to Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday. It was LAFC’s second consecutive loss and its fourth match without a win since starting the season with a 2-0 victory over Austin FC. Still, LAFC boasts one of the best attacks in MLS, featuring Mexican star Carlos Vela and Uruguayan forward Diego Rossi, the MLS Golden Boot winners from 2019 and 2020, respectively. The Black & Gold are just five months removed from a trip to the Concacaf Champions League Final.
“They definitely dominated a number of games and not gotten things to show for it,” Fraser continued.
“They’ve done a lot of things well. They’ve been unfortunate not to get the type of results that their play probably could’ve gotten then.”
“We can’t mistake LAFC for their position in the table right now. For me, they’re one of the best teams in the league, let alone our conference,” Bassett said. “I’ve watched their games and they look really sharp. We have to be ready for this. It’s a tough place to go to in LA but I think the group is pretty confident. Three wins in a row, we’re on a high right now and we want to continue that. There’s a lot of stuff we that need to continue to do on the training ground to be a top team in this league and a top team in the West, but we’re headed in that direction. Hopefully we can do it again this Saturday.”
News & Notes
- Colorado’s three-game winning streak is the second-longest active streak in MLS. Only Seattle has won more in a row (four).
- This is Colorado’s third three-game winning streak under HC Robin Fraser. Colorado won three in a row to start Fraser’s tenure and won three straight to close out the 2020 regular season and clinch the fifth seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
- Colorado and Philadelphia are the only clubs in MLS to post two clean sheets on the road so far this season.
- On Thursday, M Kellyn Acosta was called up to the USMNT May training camp in preparation for the Concacaf Nations League Final Four, which takes place at Empower Field at Mile High in June.
- M Cole Bassett scored his 10th career MLS goal on Saturday against Houston, setting the club record for most all-time goals by a Rapids Homegrown Player.
- F Diego Rubio scored his second goal of 2021 on Saturday. His first came on a wicked free kick against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on May 2. Both goals were game-winners.
- D Auston Trusty’s next appearance will be the 70th of his MLS career and his 14th with Colorado. The 22-year-old has two goals and two assists in 69 career matches.
- D Lalas Abubakar’s next start will be the 40th of his MLS career with Colorado. The 26-year-old has three goals in his MLS career, including one with the Rapids.
- F Jonathan Lewis’ next appearance will be the 70th of his MLS career and his 39th with Colorado. The 23-year-old has 13 goals and eight assists in 69 career MLS matches, including 10 goals and three assists in Burgundy.
- Captain Jack Price’s next appearance will be the 80th of his MLS career, all with Colorado. The 28-year-old has two goals and 22 assists since joining the Rapids in 2018.
- GK William Yarbrough’s next start will be the 20th of his MLS career, all with Colorado. Yarbrough has posted six clean sheets in 19 MLS appearances.