Match Day

Recap | Mihailovic earns brace, three Rapids record first goal contributions in 3-2 victory over LAFC

The Colorado Rapids held down the fortress of DICK’S Sporting Goods Park on Saturday afternoon, playing to a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over MLS Cup runners up, LAFC. After going down a goal early, Moïse Bombito was the one to tie up the game before halftime, heading down a corner taken by Djordje Mihailovic. Mihailovic recorded a brace in the second half to send LAFC packing without any points.

Both Bombito and Mihailovic’s goals were their first in burgundy. Rookie Kimani Stewart-Baynes recorded his first assist just one game after making his official MLS debut with the team.

“We are part of a club and team that has taken some tough ones recently,” said Head Coach Chris Armas after the victory. “In some games we think we are doing some good work and don’t get rewarded for different reasons... [in] my reference to the Portland game. In that second half, it might pay dividends for us that we're a team that sticks together and we don't make excuses. We went down twice today by a goal and came back twice. So, for our players, for the people at the organization who worked really hard, they could all feel part of a victory and that is great. For our fans that showed up again, and got to see some goals, got to see a victory, and that we all in this Rapids family feel validated for a game here. Not sure how long it lasts, but it's nice for our players to look at the standings to see us in third place for a little bit, in a few hours we'll see.”

LAFC got numbers on the board first, after Eduard Atuesta drove a far post shot home in the eighth minute following back-to-back corners for the visitors.

Bombito found the equalizer in the 38th minute after a left-footed shot by Homegrown defender Sam Vines was deflected out for a corner. Mihailovic’s near-post placement of the kick found the defender's head for the tying goal. LAFC’s Hugo Lloris was able to get a hand on the ball, but too late, as cheers erupted behind him from the Colorado supporters’ section.

The defender’s first goal with the club came on a special occasion—his 24th birthday.

“Yeah, it's just a dream come true,” he said after the match. “I actually was thinking about it a little bit, not that much. I just wanted to win, but I was like if ‘I get a goal, that would be sweet too’ and it happened, so I am really happy, really happy for the team as well.”

LAFC reclaimed the lead midway through the second half, as David Martínez slipped a far-post shot past the backline in the 76th minute.

Winger Omir Fernandez followed a through ball played into the box by Rafael Navarro in the 82nd minute but was taken down just before entering the 18-yard box, drawing the foul for a free kick opportunity. Mihailovic, Cole Bassett and Sam Vines all stepped up to the kick, but it was Mihailovic that drilled the ball into the upper 90, past the wall and Lloris’ outstretched hands to land his first goal in burgundy.

Before the two sides could enter stoppage time, Mihailovic found the back of the net again to record a brace in the 90th minute. Stewart-Baynes received a curling ball into the box from Navarro, headed it down into the six, and found Mihailovic for the finish.

“[It was] a little too close for me to go up over the wall, so just with pace to the far corner,” he said of the first goal. “It's always difficult when there's a lot of bodies in front of goal.

And the last goal, thank you, Kimani. His first assist. [Thanks] for not shooting, but playing me. It's nice. But this game, it always felt like it was never going to be done. We were always going to win. So like I said before, a lot of credit to the team because we never give up.”

Although the Rapids couldn't preserve the clean sheet, goalkeeper Zack Steffen made six crucial saves over the afternoon.

“We can't take shortcuts, we got to stay tuned in when we're defending,” he said after the match. “These teams have some lethal strikers and wingers and midfielders who can hit and who can put balls where they want to...and I know what the players in front of me can do. So I'm going to continue to push them and vice versa.”

The Rapids will travel to South Florida next weekend to take on Inter Miami. Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 6.