Rapids-Los Angeles FC Preview
For most of its first summer, Los Angeles Football Club has had inconsistent results on the field. Finishing a stretch at Banc of California Stadium in strong fashion is crucial ahead of another match with the Black & Gold's crosstown rival.
LAFC closes a three-game homestand on Sunday night against improving Colorado.
Coming off the first home loss in club history on Aug. 11, LAFC (11-7-6) rebounded with a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night. Christian Ramirez, acquired Aug. 6 from the Minnesota United, scored twice in the first half to lift the Black & Gold.
"I'm just glad that we won. That's the most important thing," said Ramirez, a southern Californian. "At the end, if we get those three points, that's the most important thing to me."
The forward has nine goals in 22 games (18 starts) with LAFC and Minnesota this year.
Coach Bob Bradley's side is in position for back-to-back wins for the first time since a three-game run in June. Since then, the club has gone 2-3-3.
"When you go through a tough stretch, the discussions inside the team are tough ones, hard ones," Bradley told the league's official website. "Nobody is smiling every day and happy. There's a lot of work to be done. But that's part of the deal."
Going into the weekend, LAFC (39 points) is tied with Sporting Kansas City for second in the Western Conference, three points behind FC Dallas. LAFC has played one more game than the two teams they're chasing. However, the LA Galaxy and Portland Timbers could overtake the Black & Gold, and Real Salt Lake (35 points) is also hoping to move up.
After this matchup, LAFC travels 13 miles south to take on the Galaxy on Aug. 24.
The Rapids continue to improve after overcoming two one-goal deficits in the second half to forge a 2-2 draw with the Galaxy on Tuesday. Coach Anthony Hudson's team is unbeaten (2-0-1) in its last three games and 2-1-3 in the last six.
"I'm incredibly proud of how the team has been working over the last five, six games," he said Tuesday. "I think it was important when we came into this game that we start backing ourselves, believing in what we're doing, and showing confidence. I think we did that. From start to finish, we were the better team."
Despite the recent hot streak, Colorado (6-12-6) has a tough road to get back among the top six. Heading into the weekend, the Rapids are 11th in the West -- and 11 points out of the final playoff spot.
One player who could help push Colorado closer to a playoff berth is Kellyn Acosta. The 23-year-old midfielder, who was acquired from FC Dallas on July 23, has two goals in four games with his new club.
Acosta, a Texas native, registered one goal in 13 games (eight starts) with Dallas this year, and the sixth-year veteran needs one more to match his career best set in 2015 and equaled last year.
This is the first meeting between the LAFC and Colorado. They close the season series on Oct. 6.
Updated August 18, 2018