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LA Galaxy’s start to this season has been abysmal. The five-time MLS champions have lost five, drawn three, and won only one of their nine games this season. In the last five MLS games, LA Galaxy have lost four and won one. That solitary victory came almost two weeks ago against Austin FC. Last week, LA Galaxy suffered another defeat at the hands of Orlando City.
Colorado Rapids are just above LA Galaxy in the league table. However, they have only lost three out of their ten games. Six have ended in draws, and like their next opponents, they have also won just one game. Colorado Rapids will come into this fixture with an unbeaten streak of six games, including five draws and a solitary win against Sporting Kansas City.
Vital players, including Javier Hernandez, have returned from injury for LA Galaxy but are yet to make the desired impact. Meanwhile, Colorado Rapids are no easy nut to crack as they have already held teams like Los Angeles FC and St. Louis City SC to draws this season. Despite that, it seems likely that LA Galaxy’s frustration and eagerness will win them the three points.
The history sheet is equally balanced between these two sides in the MLS. Of 31 MLS encounters, LA Galaxy and Colorado Rapids have won 12 games each. Only seven matches have ended in a stalemate.
In the last five meetings between these two sides, LA Galaxy have won only once, while Colorado Rapids have snatched all three points on three occasions. Only one game has ended in a draw. That solitary LA Galaxy win came when the two sides met at the Dignity Health Sports Park last season.
Of the 16 clashes between these two clubs at the Dignity Health Sports Parks, seven have gone in favor of the hosts, while Colorado Rapids have won five encounters. Four of these matches have ended in a draw.
Until three weeks ago, LA Galaxy were winless in the MLS and making their way to the bottom of the table. Even now, the club is only three points clear of bottom-placed Sporting Kansas City. However, some respite came a couple of weeks ago against Austin FC.
Hernandez scored his first goal after returning from injury in the 54th minute before Marco Delgado set up Ricard Puig for the second goal as LA Galaxy relished their first glorious moment of the new season in the eighth game.
The Mexican talisman, Hernandez, found the back of the net thanks to a decent assist from Dejan Joveljic. However, they could not replicate the same last week in the 2-0 loss against Orlando City. The five-time champions are back home for this match and could secure back-to-back home wins.
Another loss for LA Galaxy will deal a heavy blow to the club’s playoff aspirations this season. At the end of last season, the target would have been to finish at the summit of the MLS and snatch the title away from neighboring rivals Los Angeles FC.
However, LA Galaxy find themselves 14 points off the top of the table and 12 points behind Los Angeles FC, who have played a game less. The gap to the final playoff qualification spot is at five points but can increase if LA Galaxy continue to drop easy points.
In the goalscoring department, the club is relying on Hernandez and Joveljic. Last season, the Mexican finished with 18 goals, while the young Serbian nabbed 12. LA Galaxy scored 61 goals last season, of which 35 came from this prolific duo.
The new season has brought new challenges for the strike pair of LA Galaxy. Joveljic has featured in every game this season but only has one goal and one assist so far. Hernandez has made four appearances and matched Joveljic’s season tally.
Colorado Rapids have won the MLS title only once in their history, which came in the 2010 season. Before that, they finished runners-up in the 1997 season. In recent times, the first-place finish in the Western Division in the 2021 season is their only significant achievement.
The club may have set a target to qualify for playoffs this season, but it will not be an extremely shocking outcome if they do not. The best they can do is finish as far as possible from the bottom of the table and take a few points off teams in the title race this season.
So far, the club has dodged defeat against two out of the top three sides of the Western Conference. They lost to Seattle Sounders FC but were able to hold defending champions Los Angeles FC and newcomers St. Louis City SC to draws. More such surprising results can be anticipated from Colorado Rapids this season.
While Colorado Rapids are undefeated in seven games across all competitions, their unbeaten run away from home stands at four games. However, three of those games ended in draws, and only one against Sporting Kansas City reaped three points.
At this juncture, a draw would be a satisfactory result for Colorado Rapids, but it will be extremely frustrating for the visitors. Apart from holding Los Angeles FC and St. Louis City SC to draws, the hosts also held Vancouver Whitecaps to a goalless draw last weekend.
Colorado Rapids were quite busy in the transfer market before the season, eagerly looking for reinforcements to strengthen their side. One of the reinforcements came in the form of 23-year-old Kevin Cabral.
After scoring 8 goals in 67 appearances for LA Galaxy, Cabral decided to take on a new challenge with Colorado Rapids this season. The winger has made eight appearances so far but only started two games. He could be a threat from the bench as he has already scored once against Austin FC, as a substitute.
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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