Preview: League leaders look to avoid trap against revitalized Rapids

LAFC Preview
FRISCO, TX — MAY 19: Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela (10) kicks the ball during the game between FC Dallas and Los Angeles FC on May 19, 2019 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX. (Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

Los Angeles, California (June 27, 2019) — On first glance, LAFC looks primed to add another three points on Friday. Back on the road, they will play the league’s club with the worst record: Colorado Rapids.

This will be the first time these two teams share the pitch in 2019. While three points look a mere formality, this preview will discuss what LAFC need to do — and avoid — to come away with a win.

LAFC v Rapids Preview: Rapids hope to extend run to six unbeaten in MLS

Not much needs to be said about the form of LAFC. They are as unbeatable as a team can be halfway through a season. They have only lost one match all season, have scored 19 goals in their last seven matches and have an MVP-leading captain. So, with all that going for them, why would you be concerned with a team dead last in the West?

Because this is sports and on any given day, anything can happen.

Rolling Rapids

Colorado may have started slow, but over the last month they have begun to find their feet. A Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup defeat to New Mexico United aside, the Rapids have won their last five matches. While the entire team has improved in play, one player in particular has really started to find his stride: rookie Andre Shinyashiki. He will be the one to watch out for if you’re LAFC. The last couple of matches have exposed a small weakness for LAFC. If they aren’t careful, Shinyashiki will take advantage.

Cement Wall

That is what the back four for LAFC will have to be. The last couple of matches have proven more difficult than first assumed. Most of that can be attributed to continuing to play without two of your better players on defense in Walker Zimmerman and Tyler Miller. However, while the “replacements” have done extremely well — take a bow Pablo Sisniega — it has been the vets that have been the cause for pause.

Jordan Harvey, usually the most consistent, has had a rough two matches. With a rookie ready to prove himself and help take down the giant that is LAFC, Harvey will need to return to his stalwart nature.

Ace in the hole

If all else fails, if the best laid plan goes wrong, if things start to crumble and the sky should fall, there is still always the ace card: Carlos Vela.

He scores when he wants, gets the space he wants and will serve up several silver platter passes throughout the match. Vela is the new Kobe Bryant in LA. The player you know, when the chips are down and when the others are struggling, just get out the way and let him loose. He will get it done.

Prediction

For Colorado, the key is to attack. Absolutely nothing to lose and all to gain lies in this match. If there was a time to upset the title favorites, now would be the time. Shinyashiki could find success attack the left side of the LAFC defense. For the Black and Gold, the back four will again be the focus.

Sisniega continues to prove his worth in goal and make a case to be the number one in the very near future. With MLS play resuming — and Tyler Miller still with the USMNT — now is the perfect time for Sisniega to take the next step. While it may seem like a rout on paper, expect Colorado to put up a fight. However, LAFC will get the three points, 2-1.

 

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