Through five weeks of the MLS regular season, the Colorado Rapids are near the very top of the Western Conference. LAFC, who host the Rapids this weekend, are at the bottom of the conference. This could well be a measuring stick match for the young and improved Rapids against one of the glamour sides of MLS – a club that admittedly is a bit down to start the season but still boasts significant talent.
It defies all logic that the underappreciated, yeoman-like Colorado Rapids would be within a grasp of the top of the table and LAFC in the basement. But in the still young MLS season, the Rapids have turned several solid defensive displays and merged them with a youthful and promising attack to churn out not just results but wins.
The Rapids have won three straight games coming into this weekend’s trip to LAFC and are suddenly near the top of the Western Conference, sitting on 10 points with a 3-1-1 record. The only blip came in the second week of the season when they lost their season opener to expansion side Austin FC.
“Poor fortune,” Fraser said of LAFC’s form to start the season.
“They definitely had dominated a number of games and not gotten things to show for it. They’re obviously missing [Carlos Vela], the player who has been certainly two years ago, best player in league hands down.
“He’s in a really important piece for them and he’s coming back and I would expect that we’ll see him this weekend and that alone gives them a boost and makes him a different team. But I just think they’ve, done a lot of things well and been fortunate unfortunate to not get the types of results that their play probably could have gotten them.”
Vela may not be ready to start for LAFC coming off his injury in the season opener.
The surprising Rapids are 3-1-1 (10 points) and are third in the Western Conference on points per game. LAFC is a disappointing 1-2-2 (5 points). Given their star power and success over the past two seasons, more was expected of LAFC even as the sample size is small at the start of the season.
A result at LAFC this weekend would certainly be a statement of intent for the Rapids, who made the playoffs last season but certainly have not been taken seriously as contenders for MLS Cup.
“We’re certainly looking forward to what we think is going to be a huge challenge, regardless of where they are in the standings right now,” Fraser said. “LAFC is one of the best teams in the league that’s, that’s clear and obvious to everyone. And certainly we’re going to need to be at our best to be able to get a result there.”