Following a 1-1 draw against Austin FC in Texas, the Colorado Rapids embarked on a journey back to their home state to face off against the current reigning MLS Cup Champions, LAFC.
The Rapids knew winning was not going to be an easy task, given the absence of their captain, Jack Price, who suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury a few matches prior. In addition, the team was without the services of Cole Bassett, one of their most talented young players, who was unable to take his position at right wing as he was sidelined due to a hamstring injury.
Returning after missing the previous match against Austin FC due to his international duty with Chile, is Diego Rubio. In this match, he made his 100th regular season appearance for the Rapids and now stands as the fourth forward in Club history to achieve this impressive milestone.
This match was all about defense. Colorado knew coming into this match that defense would be their only key to victory as they just outshot a tough Austin FC team 17-8, resulting in a draw.
The Rapids were able to follow through with their plans and hold undefeated LAFC to no goals and a season-low 2 shots on target. Offense was a different story as they were unable to net a ball into the back of the goal in their 14 attempts.
LAFC goalkeeper John McCarthy, who has only given up 3 goals this season made four critical saves during the match, securing his team’s third shutout victory of the season.
On the other hand, Rapids goalkeeper William Yarbrough made two crucial saves from the only two shots on goal, proving to be a dominant presence in the box. The team continued their impressive defensive performance from last week, denying LAFC any open looks. In addition, the Rapids outshot their opponents 14-11 and demonstrated their dominance by securing ten corner kicks, compared to LAFC’s three.
Even though the match ended in a draw this is a huge win for the Rapids. They not only put on a defensive masterclass, but they did it without some of their top players.
“Yeah, I think the message after the game from Robin [Fraser] was ‘We’re in a much better place now and we feel like we’re disappointed with a tie against one of the best teams in the league if not the best team in the league,’ and I think that was a sentiment for a lot of people in the locker room tonight. I think I come away feeling like we could have definitely generated more chances to feel more dangerous, to feel like we could have scored more, but you know, we do keep a clean sheet at the end of the night again against one of the better teams in the league. So you know, there’s a lot of positives to build on,” said Rapids Defender Keegan Rosenberry.
Moving forward, a major concern for the Rapids is player availability. The team has struggled with injuries and absences in the early stages of the season, and it remains to be seen how they will address this issue in the coming weeks.
Next Saturday, the Rapids will travel east to face Sporting Kansas City, who currently sits 13th in the Western Conference. A win for the Rapids would move them ahead of Sporting KC in the standings, making this an important match. The Rapids are eager to have Cole Bassett back in the lineup to help solve their recent struggles in finding the back of the net.