COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Following a 27-day Gold Cup break, lead leaders LAFC made the trip to face a hot Colorado Rapids team as both sides looked to extend their unbeaten runs.
By night’s end, Colorado earned the 1-0 win by virtue of a second half goal from centerback Danny Wilson, handing the visitors their second loss of 2019. The result extended Colorado’s unbeaten streak to seven games, while LAFC’s unbeaten run ended at eight games.
“Just a great performance,” said Rapids interim head coach Conor Casey. “We were going against a really great team tonight and they showed their resiliency.”
Facing the league-leading offense with 39 goals scored and led by MLS Golden Boot leader Carlos Vela, Colorado opted for a defensive look with Jack Price and Danny Wilson starting deep in the midfield to shield the backline.
“We took a good look at LA and we saw that teams would start the game compact and when they spread out, they would get hurt. We wanted to be compact for the entire game,” Casey explained.
It was a strategy which proved to be effective as LAFC was held to just two shots in the opening half with none on target, despite holding nearly 64 percent possession before the break.
Offensively, the Rapids had limited opportunities with just three shots in the first half. Their most dangerous chance came in the 21st minute, but the header from Lalas Abubakar floated well above the crossbar.
Colorado nearly went in front to open the second half as Andre Shinyashiki’s shot from the left side of the box was deflected just outside the far post for a corner.
On the ensuing corner, the Rapids did take the lead, however. Price’s corner found the head of Wilson to give Colorado the opening goal and the 1-0 lead.
Shortly after the goal, the match was postponed on a one-hour lightning delay.
At the resumation of the match in the 52nd minute, both teams opted for attacking substitutions as Nicolas Mezquida came into the match for Colorado while Adrien Perez entered the match for LAFC.
“With the break we wanted to use that time to prepare and get a player in there,” said Casey. “But it didn’t really affect us at all.”
The move from Bob Bradley nearly led to an equalizer for the visitors as Perez had a golden opportunity in the 71st minute, but his shot went over the crossbar.
Despite a continued offensive onslaught from LAFC, Rapids goalkeeper came up big with three saves – all after the rain delay – preserving the win for Colorado.
Now with 19 points on the season, the result kept Colorado within striking distance of the seventh and final playoff spot, currently held by Minnesota United (21 points).
Colorado will now turn its focus to its annual Fourth of July match, hosting New England next Thursday (9 p.m. ET). LAFC continues its two-game road trip with a trip to face Sporting Kansas City next Wednesday (9 p.m. ET).