Colorado Rapids head coach Robin Fraser has praised the collective effort of his side to move themselves into contention for top spot in the Western Conference.
Dominique Badji struck late last week to earn the Rapids a 1-0 win at San Jose Earthquakes and make it 17 points collected from the last 21 on offer.
That seven-match unbeaten run has taken Fraser’s men up to second place in the West and within a point of leaders Seattle Sounders FC with a game in hand to play.
Colorado’s latest win came despite being without some key men, including Kellyn Acosta and Mark-Anthony Kaye, which Fraser believes highlights his side’s adaptability.
“The resilience of the group once again, and really the contributions by everyone – it’s really gratifying when you have that many players on the same page,” he said.
“We make changes and we don’t lose anything. We keep or pick the energy level up even more. I’m really proud of the team overall.
“What a testament to the team mentality. The guys just adapted.”
While Colorado are on their best run of form since June 2019, next opponents LA Galaxy have struggled for victories over the past month.
The Galaxy have won just one of their last five matches and needed a late Kevin Cabral goal to snatch a 3-3 draw against rivals Los Angeles FC last time out.
That point leaves Vanney’s men fourth in the West and the former Toronto FC boss, who spent time with Colorado as a player, was not happy with the most recent performance.
“A guy can’t carve through us like we’re cones in our box and put the ball top (of the net),” he said of the first of Brian Rodriguez’s two goals for LAFC. “It just can’t happen, it’s simple.
“All of us will be watching that video for the next 20 years on highlight reels and that’s not a position that any of us want to be in. We need to get better on the first defending.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Colorado Rapids – Dominique Badji
Badji arrived at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park from Nashville SC in July and has been restricted to just half an hour of playing time across three substitute appearances since joining. The Senegalese forward made the most of his late cameo, though, by scoring a composed winner late on against the Quakes. That could be enough to earn him a starting spot here.
LA Galaxy – Jonathan Bond
The Rapids have scored nine goals in their last five matches, while the Galaxy have conceded eight over the same period, so it could be a busy day for visiting goalkeeper Bond. He has made 87 saves in 2021 at an average of 4.1 per 90 minutes – only Austin FC’s Brad Stuver (95 and 4.3 respectively) has been busier among keepers to have played at least 450 minutes.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Colorado have won four straight matches against the Galaxy for the first time in club history, following a 2-1 away win on August 17.
– The Rapids are unbeaten in six straight against LA (W5 D1) dating back to the start of the 2018 season.
– Colorado are unbeaten in seven straight matches, winning five of them, including a 1-0 win at San Jose last week to equal their longest run without a loss since May-June 2019. The Rapids last went longer than seven straight without defeat during a 15-match run from April-July 2016.
– The Galaxy have equaled their longest winless run of the season, failing to win any of their last three games (D1 L2), equaling a streak from late July. LA did not go consecutive matches without a win in any of their first 12 games this season.
– The Rapids have allowed just nine goals in their last 12 matches, allowing more than one goal only once in that span. The nine goals Colorado has conceded since the beginning of July are the fewest in MLS.