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Jun 28, 2024 9:30 pm

Sizzling Los Angeles FC face challenge in Rapids

Kei Kamara

Los Angeles FC will play host to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night, looking to extend their unbeaten streak to nine league matches.

LAFC enters the match after a dominant 6-2 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on June 22 and has not lost since a May 4 visit to the Bay Area against the Quakes.

Los Angeles (11-4-4, 37 points) is in a three-way tie for the top seed in the Western Conference with Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy.

Forward Kei Kamara’s 33rd-minute strike against San Jose moved him into second place on the all-time MLS scoring list with 146 goals, passing Landon Donovan.

Denis Bouanga’s 13th goal of the season against the Earthquakes has him in third place in the MLS Golden Boot race, three behind leader Cristian Arango of Real Salt Lake.

LAFC is 6-4-1 all-time against Colorado across all competitions.

“It’s a difficult team to beat, and they’re playing very well of late as well — quite disciplined,” LAFC coach Steve Cherundolo said. “It’s a very compact team, vertical team. They look for depth right away. They are very consequent in their offensive marking, meaning they’re aggressive and committed, which makes it difficult to expose them in any sort of transition moment.”

In their last meeting, the Rapids twice erased a deficit to secure three points in a 3-2 victory on March 30 in Commerce City, Colo.

Colorado enters the contest riding a three-match winning streak, outscoring opponents 9-1 in that stretch.

The Rapids (9-7-4, 31 points) are fourth in the Western Conference standings, six points behind LAFC entering the match Saturday.

“They’re dangerous on the counter. They force mistakes, they play with high energy, they defend high up the pitch at times, can play in big spaces and can hurt you for sure,” Colorado coach Chris Armas said. “You can see how explosive that offense is, to have many guys that can hurt you.”

Colorado is led by designated player Rafael Navarro, whom the Rapids permanently acquired from Serie A club Palmeiras of Brazil on Thursday. Navarro has 11 goals and three assists in 20 matches this season. Midfielder Djordje Mihailovic has nine goals and eight assists in 19 appearances.

The Rapids will be without defender Moise Bombito, who is away on international duty with Team Canada at the Copa America.

–Field Level Media

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