COMMERCE CITY, Colo. ― The Colorado Rapids (16-7-10, 58 points) will host Fan Appreciation Night when LAFC (12-12-9, 45 points) visits on Sunday, Nov. 7. The Decision Day kickoff is set for 4 p.m. MT at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park, with extended pregame coverage starting on Altitude Sports at 3:15 p.m. and on Altitude Sports Radio 92.5 FM at 3:30 p.m.

The Rapids have already secured home field advantage in the first round of the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs and can still clinch the top seed in the Western Conference—and a First-Round bye—with a win on Sunday and a loss or draw by both Seattle Sounders FC and Sporting KC in their respective matches. Colorado can also clinch a berth in the 2022 Concacaf Champions League with a second-place finish or better.

This will be the second consecutive playoff appearance in two full seasons under head coach Robin Fraser in what could be a historic campaign for the Rapids. A win or draw on Sunday would set a new club record for most points in a single season; the Burgundy Boys are currently tied with the 2016 Rapids on 58 points. Colorado can finish no lower than third in the West and have never finished higher than second in the standings.

“[LAFC is] a really good team. I don’t care what their record is or where they are in the standings,” Fraser said. “This is a team that has been one of the best teams in the league for the last three or four years. For us, we really need to focus on the task at hand. As I said, they’re a very good team and very difficult to beat. Our focus is winning that game. We can’t control what Seattle or Kansas City [do]. There’s nothing that we can do that can affect that. The only thing we can do is control our own effort and intensity and concentration. We would like to feel like ultimately we can affect our game and that’s really all we can spend time thinking about.”

Dominique Badji scored his third goal in four games to lead the Rapids to a 1-0 win in Houston on Sunday. The win was the Rapids’ 16th of the season, a post-shootout era club record, and their 13th clean sheet of the season, tying a single-season club record.

Badji’s goal was his fourth since rejoining the club via trade in July. Yarbrough made six saves to earn his 13th shutout of the year, tied for the league lead, and his 77.61 save percentage is the highest among goalkeepers with at least 20 appearances. Captain Jack Price is tied for third in MLS with 12 assists, the most by a Rapids player since 2009.

“We’re just focused on the next game ahead,” Rapids defender Auston Trusty said. “We can’t control anything that happens with the scores or points other teams have. We just have to go in and do our job. If we win and it doesn’t fall our way, we did our best and we can go and do our thing. But we want to put ourselves in a position where it can fall our way.”

The match will be the first time Mark-Anthony Kaye faces his former team since joining the Rapids through trade in July. Kaye played 77 regular season matches for LAFC from 2018 to July 2021, including 31 appearances in 2019 as LAFC won the Supporters’ Shield. The Canadian international has recorded a game-winning goal and two assists, including one game-winner, with Colorado this season. Rapids defender Steven Beitashour spent two years with LAFC, playing 25 games during their 2019 Supporters’ Shield run.

LAFC enters the match unbeaten in six, but in ninth place in the West and in need of a victory to clinch a playoff berth following a. a disappointing 1-1 draw with Vancouver on Tuesday night. Mexican star Carlos Vela entered the match in the 72nd minute as he works back from an injury that’s seen him miss large chunks of the 2021 season.

Cristian Arango leads the club with 13 goals in just 16 games since joining the club in August, while Eduard Atuesta paces LAFC with eight assists. Jamal Blackman has started LAFC’s last seven games, allowing eight goals and posting one clean sheet.

Sunday’s game will mark the second meeting of the season between these teams. On May 22, Diego Rossi scored twice to lead LAFC over Colorado in a 2-1 home win. Michael Barrios scored his first goal after joining the Rapids in January in the second half. Rossi has since joined Turkish side Fenerbahçe.

As part of Fan Appreciation Night, the club will continue to celebrate several long-standing traditions. After the final whistle, the Rapids will complete a Lap of Honor to recognize the Burgundy Faithful. Additionally, 23 fans have been selected to receive a jersey directly from a Rapids player on the field after the match as part of the ‘Jersey Off Our Back’ club tradition (all participating fans will follow MLS and KSE health and safety protocols). The club’s supporters’ group, Centennial 38, will then announce its two annual awards, Defender and Player of the Year, and present the oars given to each Rapids Man of the Match during the season.

News & Notes

  • A win or draw on Sunday would secure the most points in a single season in club history. Colorado is currently on 58 points, tied with the 2016 Rapids.
  • Colorado’s next win will be the 30th under Robin Fraser. The Rapids are 29-15-14 since Fraser’s first match at the helm on Aug. 31, 2019; their 1.74 points per game since then are third-best in MLS.
  • M Jack Price’s next start will be his 100th with the club. He is third on the club’s all-time list with 32 assists. He is the first Rapids player to earn 12 assists in a season since M Omar Cummings in 2009.
  • The Rapids are 3-0-0 all-time in the month of November in the regular season. Last season, they won on Nov. 1, 4 and 8 to close the season on a three-game winning streak and clinch a playoff berth in their first full season under Robin Fraser.
  • F Michael Barrios’ next goal and assist will be the 40th and 50th of his career, respectively. His next goal would be his ninth of the season, tying a career high set in 2016 with FC Dallas.
  • F Andre Shinyashiki’s next start will be his 50th in MLS. His next appearance will be his 32nd of the season, setting a new career high.
  • M Nico Mezquida’s next start will be the 70th in MLS. He is 84 minutes from 7,000 in his eight-year MLS career.
  • D Steven Beitashour played 57 games for LAFC in 2018 and 2019, including a playoff game in 2019.