LAFC return to MLS season with 4-0 win

Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
LAFC return to MLS regular season play after a month with a 4-0 win over the Colorado Rapids.

LAFC trounced to a 4-0 win over Colorado Rapids at BMO Stadium on Wednesday night, restarting their regular season campaign with a bang after a month-long break for the Leagues Cup, positioning themselves into second place in the Western Conference just four points below St. Louis City.

Ten matches remain before the playoffs with Charlotte FC and Lionel Messi’s red-hot Inter Miami up next for the 2022 MLS Cup and Supporters Shield winners.  Carlos Vela registered a goal and assist in his return from injury, Mateusz Bogusz and Ryan Hollingshead also scored before the halftime whistle. Newcomer, Cristian Olivera scored his first MLS goal in his debut for the Black and Gold in the second half, delivering one final blow to the visitors who are now goalless in 13 matches this season while LAFC’s John McCarthy triumphed in keeping his eighth clean sheet of the season.

“I think the secret to our success in these last 10 games will be making sure whoever is on the field the level is the same. Whether you pull a guy off and put someone new on or start someone new, the level of LAFC has to be high, has to be intense and the tempo has to be fast,” head coach Steve Cherundolo emphasized in his post-game remarks. “If we can achieve that then I think we’ll win a lot of the remaining games.”

The scoring blitz began in the 19th minute as Bogusz seized on a Vela assist curling a right-footed finish past Colorado’s goalkeeper Marko Ilic inside the right post. Then, ten minutes later, the captain capitalized on a perfect reception from Ilie Sanchez delivering his own goal to double the home team’s lead. Hollingshead’s goal, his second of the season, came more unexpectedly as it resulted while he seemed to be trying to reach newest teammate Spanish striker Mario Gonzalez with a cross that swung right through into the goal in the 36th minute. Vela’s substitute Olivera sealed the deal with a final goal, the 21-year-old Uruguayan’s first for his club, as he finished on an assist from Denís Bouanga (his second of the evening, in the 83rd minute.

While it’s true that between Bouanga and Vela, the two scored 39 of the 68 goals LAFC have accumulated in MLS regular season, Leagues Cup, US Open Cup, and Concacaf Champions League this year, the difference maker moving forward lies in spreading their offensive power across multiple players. “A lot of guys stepping up and scoring goals, big time goals from a lot of people. Not just relying on Denis or one guy or Carlos or one guy,” Hollingshead affirmed. “I think that’s going to be huge for us moving forward, and for the final third of the season and getting into playoffs. Having a lot of different guys producing.”

LAFC head back to the pitch on Saturday, August 26 when the club travels east to take on Charlotte FC.