Aug 4, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Seattle Sounders forward Raul Ruidiaz (9) dribbles in the first half against Minnesota United defender Brent Kallman (14) at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
After a controlling of shots and possession from Colorado early, the L.A. Galaxy took an early 1-0 lead against the Rapids when Tommy Smith’s failed clearance landed at the feet of Romain Alessandrini.
But the hosts battled back with an equalizing goal from Kellyn Acosta (50’) and the game winner from Sam Nicholson (90’) to take home all three points in a 2-1 win.
Here are three takeaways from Colorado’s 2-1 win over L.A.
Acosta rewards program
The move to trade off their leading scorer, Dominique Badji, for young midfield talent Kellyn Acosta continues to pay off for Colorado. The 23-year-old now has two goals in two appearances for Colorado, both times drawing the Rapids level with his strikes against D.C. United last week, and L.A. in his first league appearance at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday.
Dallas will be sure to get goals out of Dominique Badji, who arrived in Dallas this week. But the Acosta move has seemingly changed both the dynamism on the pitch and locker room resolve in Colorado.
“Sam Nicholson and Giles Barnes have given us a lift in the locker room,” said Rapids head coach Anthony Hudson. “Unfortunately, he had a little issue with his ankle, but his mere presence around the place. Kellyn [Acosta] is the future of the club. Those signings have helped us improve the squad, still a work in progress. Everyone’s working incredibly well and they’ve definitely played a part.”
Jolly Ol’ St. Nicholson
Midfielder Sam Nicholson, as stated by Hudson above, has been another important piece to the Rapids’ makeup, particularly in attack, of late.
The Scotsman has two goals in nearly 1300 minutes of play, which still probably leaves more to be desired simply based on statistics alone. But the former Hearts of Midlothian man has also seemingly been the Rapids’ most creative player moving forward, and is not afraid to take shots on goal, another area in which Colorado has struggled in this season.
“It’s a bit of a change playing up front,” Nicholson said of his recent role change within the Rapids’ recent, more permanent switch to a 4-4-2 diamond shape. “I’ve played up front as a kid, played a few games professionally in my old club in Scotland. I really enjoy it. I missed playing up front. The team has adapted to it really well.”
No Zlatan, No Problem
Cynics will say that Colorado accomplished this win against an L.A. team that was without arguably their best player, but that take doesn’t paint a complete picture. Surely, the Swedish target forward has been huge for the Galaxy beyond his 6-foot-5 frame; Ibrahimović has scored 15 goals along with six assists in just 17 appearances thus far in MLS.
But the Galaxy was also previously undefeated without Zlatan in the lineup this season, going 2-0-1 in matches where he was an unused sub. L.A. had plenty of firepower with the likes of Romain Alessandrini, Jonathan Dos Santos, Ema Boateng, etc. But Colorado’s defense mostly limited an otherwise powerful Galaxy attack to earn the win at home.
““I don’t think we played real well tonight,” said L.A. Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid. “We scored a goal in the first half, but it was a little bit against the run of play. On their first goal, I thought Acosta hit a good shot, so you have to take that in account, but on the second goal, we got back-doored and the defensive positioning wasn’t good. We seemed a little sluggish tonight and we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be.”