Robin Fraser had no interest in calling Tuesday’s win over LA Galaxy a statement win, but the league took note nevertheless.
Fraser was named MLS Coach of the Week after his Rapids took six points at Houston and LA Galaxy in Week 20. Braian Galván was named to the week’s Best XI after his golazo against Dynamo FC and his brilliant 84 minutes in Carson.
The Rapids lined up in their typical 4-3-3 in Houston, with Auston Trusty slotting in at left back and Jack Price, Cole Bassett and Mark-Anthony Kaye roaming the midfield. Colorado got off to a fast start with a Lalas Abubakar goal in the fifth minute but headed into the break level after a late penalty kick conversion. Fraser’s men dug in in the second half, with Michael Barrios finishing off an excellent sequence of passes in the final third and Galván whipping another left-footed curler to the far post to ice it. William Yarbrough posted a season-high nine saves in one of his best outings of the year.
The third-place, unbeaten-in-four LA Galaxy awaited three days later. Fraser rotated the squad into a 3-4-2-1, with Galván and Keegan Rosenberry working the flanks, Collen Warner joining the midfield and Jonathan Lewis wreaking havoc up top. Greg Vanney’s team did what his teams do and moved the ball to the tune of 65 percent possession, but the Rapids were resolute defensively and clinical when needed. Lewis smashed his penalty and Andre Shinyashiki scored one minute after coming on to snag a 10th point in four games. It was the second goal by a substitute of the road trip.
Galván, making his third start in four games, was dangerous with the ball and formidable without it. The 20-year-old Argentine completed 75 percent of his passes and made a team-high four tackles. He has impressed with his creativity and intelligence, as well as his positional flexibility as both a right winger and left wingback when called upon in several outings this season.
The win marked Colorado’s fifth on the road this season and their 12th since Fraser took the helm just under two years ago. The Rapids have been outstanding away from home since then, posting 12 wins, eight clean sheets and 1.73 points per game – all the best in MLS.
Just past the midway point of the season, Colorado sits in fourth place in the West and on pace with Sporting KC and Seattle at the top. Fifth-place Real Salt Lake visits DICK’S Sporting Goods Park on Saturday. The Rapids will look to widen the gap to 10 points while looking to defend their Rocky Mountain Cup (7 p.m./Altitude). Get your Rocky Mountain Cup tickets here
Team of the Week:
F – Gonzalo Higuain (MIA), Raul Ruidiaz (SEA)
M – Daniel Salloi (SKC), Ryan Gauld (VAN), Tommy McNamara (NE), Ezequiel Barco (ATL), Anderson Julio (RSL)
D – Kai Wagner (PHI), Walker Zimmerman (NSH), Braian Galván (COL)
GK – Carlos Coronel (RBNY)
Bench – Sebastian Breza (MTL), Miles Robinson (ATL), John Tolkin (RBNY), Wil Trapp (MIN), Luka Stojanovic (CHI), Emmanuel Boateng (NE), Felipe Mora (POR)
Coach – Robin Fraser (COL)