LAFC rolls without dominant version of Carlos Vela – Press Telegram

Carlos Vela scored a hat trick over the Colorado Rapids in a 3-0 home win in late February.

The Major League Soccer single-season goalscoring record holder has scored just once in Los Angeles Football Club’s 11 appearances since.

Given the prolific stats the 33-year-old LAFC star forward was responsible for in the club’s first four seasons, his drought continues (eight straight scoreless games offset, somewhat, by three assists in the course of of this period) might have reported mixed results to begin with. fifth year.

Still, this version of LAFC (7-1-2, 23 points) proves that Vela, three seasons away from his stellar form as MLS MVP, doesn’t need to dominate on the scoresheet for his team to compiles positive results.

Although he set the bar high with his second career hat trick against the Rapids in Game 1, Vela’s production has stalled as the team’s results continue to trend in the right direction.

When he took charge, first-year head coach Steven Cherundolo aimed to use more than 16 players in regular rotation, including midfielder Latif Blessing and Vela, who are the last two names remaining from the inaugural season. 2018 from LAFC; a veteran contingent of newcomers with MLS experience and life on their backs; and a talented core that has remained for the Bob Bradley years.

The overall strength of the team, more than the contributions of a single player, provided the Black & Gold with repeated game-ending opportunities.

Before the start of the season, Vela weighed roster construction and embraced the role of an enabler rather than a goal-hungry striker.

Since the Rapids’ 3-4-3 loss to ninth place at Banc of California Stadium on Feb. 26, LAFC’s holistic approach has become a reality.

“I wouldn’t even call them ‘bench.’ These are solutions to games,” said midfielder Kellyn Acosta, who was traded from Colorado to LAFC after helping the Rapids win the MLS Western Conference in 2021, of his teammates.

“For all of us, the first quarter of the season has been positive,” he said. “To move forward, we have to keep growing. Keep building. And we can’t be content with what we’re doing right now because we know we have a higher ceiling and plenty of room to improve.

Boasting a 9-1-2 record in all competitions, good for an early lead in the MLS Supporters’ Shield race, LAFC’s solid play amid the busiest month of the year puts the club in Denver Saturday.

Colorado is undefeated in a franchise-record 21 straight games on its mile-high field, and in seven league games between the teams, the home team has won six times. LAFC returns to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the first time since a Decision Day loss ended a 2021 season without the playoffs.

The Rapids bring an air of uncertainty as their roster has undergone numerous changes, including the addition of United States international Gyasi Zardes to its offense in April.

LAFC at COLORADO RAPIDS

When: Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

Or: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colorado.

TV/Radio: Univision, TUDN, Twitter / 710 AM, 980 AM

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