The Black & Gold Guide: Records, Facts and Stats
The regular-season home finale is here. LAFC will host the Colorado Rapids Sunday afternoon with kickoff scheduled for 1:25 pm at Banc of California Stadium. The 2019 Supporter Shield winners will look to transition into the playoffs filled with confidence along with a boosted morale and a win over the Rapids will surely accomplish that. However, the Rapids have reasons to believe that they can go into the Banc and come away with a victory as their postseason aspirations depend on it. While LAFC is chasing records, Colorado is chasing a playoff berth. Two different objectives but both will have the same determination to accomplish them.
Below is everything you need to know about Sunday’s match vs Colorado Rapids:
A Whole Different Game
In the last meeting between LAFC and Colorado, the Rapids came away with a 1-0 victory at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on June 28th. For that match, Tyler Miller, Walker Zimmerman and Mark-Anthony Kaye were all away with their respective national teams in the Gold Cup. Eduard Atuesta did not play due to rest and Brian Rodriguez was not on the team yet. All five players are likely to feature on Sunday and will surely make a difference in from the start.
Missing The Shutout
Although LAFC have recorded a total of nine (9) clean sheets this season, they have failed to get one in their last seven (7) matches. Tyler Miller has been in goal in all of the nine shutouts as Pablo Sisniega (6 games played) is still looking for his first clean sheet with the club. The last time LAFC completed a shutout was August 21st vs San Jose in a 4-0 win at the Banc. The Black & Gold will look to get their 10th clean sheet of the season on Sunday vs Colorado, which will equal their shutout total of 2018.
First Half Wins
LAFC are one of the best teams in the league when scoring early and controlling games. The Black & Gold have an impressive record of 14-0-0 overall when going into the halftime break with the score in their favor. In addition, LAFC have an 8-0-0 record when scoring first at the Banc. An early lead along with a solid performance in the first half will significantly improve LAFC’s chances of coming out victorious vs Colorado. At least that’s what the records state.
For a team with the offensive power of LAFC, most teams will try and bunker down in defense to prevent getting scored on. When your opponent “parks the bus”, set pieces become very important. Unfortunately, the Black & Gold have not been able to capitalize as much as they would like to. In regards to corner kicks, LAFC have only scored on five (5) occasions out of the 208 corner kick attempts, which gives them a 3% success rate. It is no surprise as to why opponents prefer to live with defending the set piece against LAFC instead of allowing them to operate in the middle of the field. The Black & Gold have scored a total of seven (7) goals from set pieces this season, all assisted by Carlos Vela. The match vs Colorado will give LAFC another opportunity to execute the set pieces being practiced on the training ground on a daily basis in an attempt to make them an even more dangerous team.
Yellow Cards Reset
Yellow card accumulation thresholds are reset entering the Playoffs. A player who reaches an accumulation threshold in the last MLS Regular Season match (e.g. Fifth, Eighth, etc.) IS ELIGIBLE for the Playoffs. Walker Zimmerman, Mark-Anthony Kaye and Latif Blessing would have all been potentially one yellow card away from suspension but fortunately, that will not be the case. The only way an LAFC player were to be suspended for the Conference Semifinal match would be by receiving a red card vs Colorado.
Six (6) players from the LAFC roster will report with their respective national teams on Monday October 7th and return to the club on Wednesday October 16th.
· Walker Zimmerman (USA)
· Mark-Anthony Kaye (Canada)
· Brian Rodriguez (Uruguay)
· Diego Palacios (Ecuador)
· Rodolfo Zelaya (El Salvador)
· Peter-Lee Vassell (Jamaica)
Looking For Their First
Defender Dejan Jakovic, midfielders Lee Nguyen and Peter-Lee Vassell along with forward Brian Rodriguez are the only remaining players on the LAFC roster that have yet to score a goal in the regular season in 2019. Although some will have more of an opportunity to play than others, it is hopeful that at least one of these players can find the back of the net on Sunday vs Colorado.
LAFC had one of the best inaugural seasons in MLS history in 2018 by accumulating the most points for an expansion team in year one. In 2019, Bob Bradley opted for continuity and created an even better version of the Black & Gold.
· LAFC accumulated 56 points in 2018. This season, they have accumulated 69 points with one game remaining (Sunday vs Colorado).
· LAFC ended with a +17 goal differential in 2018. This season, they are at +46 with one game remaining.
· LAFC had 196 shots on target in 2018. This season, they are currently at 229 shots on target with one game remaining.
· LAFC suffered 4 red cards in 2018. This season, a much-more disciplined squad only has one ejection all year long.
· LAFC finished the 2018 season in 3rd place of the Western Conference standings. This season, they are guaranteed to finish in 1st place.
· LAFC clinched the playoffs in 2018 with four (4) games remaining. This season, they clinched a playoff berth even sooner, with nine (9) matches still to play.
The motivation for Sunday vs Colorado is a combination of making history as a team for LAFC as well as going into the playoffs with confidence levels at the highest point. Here are the records that LAFC are in line to break on Sunday vs Colorado and how they can get them:
· Most points in a single season (71): LAFC will own the record with a win over the Colorado Rapids, which will put them at 72 points for the 2019 season.
· Most goals scored in a single season (85): LAFC will own the record if they are able to score four (4) goals vs Colorado. The Black & Gold are currently on 82 goals.
· Best goal-differential in a single season (+41): LAFC will own the record with a win, draw or a loss of four goals or less. The Black & Gold currently have a +46 goal differential.
Breaking Records: Carlos Vela Edition
There not be anyone more motivated to help his team get the victory on Sunday vs Colorado than team captain Carlos Vela. The potential league-MVP has some personal business he wants to take care of on Sunday and some other that has already been handled.
· Most goals in a single season (31): Carlos Vela will own the record if he scores one goal on Sunday vs Colorado. Vela is currently tied for the all-time record with 31 goals scored in 2019.
· Most goals and assists combined in a single season (38): Carlos Vela already owns the record for most goals and assists combined with 46 (31 goals and 15 assists). However, he has one more game to make that record even more insurmountable.
· Most goals by two teammates in a single season (43): Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi already own the record for most goals scored by two teammates with 47. With one more game remaining, don’t be surprised if that number hits 50.
On A Hot Streak
The Colorado Rapids have won five out of their last six games. Four of those victories have come against current playoff teams: New York Red Bulls, Seattle Sounders, LA Galaxy and FC Dallas. In addition, three of those wins were also shutouts for the Rapids. LAFC will have their hands full on Sunday when one of the hottest teams in the league visits the Banc.
Rocky Road Troubles, But…
Although Colorado only has three (3) wins on the road all season, the motivation of a potential playoff qualification for them just might be enough to pull off the miracle. With a win in Los Angeles along with losses from both FC Dallas and the San Jose Earthquakes, the Colorado Rapids will clinch a spot in the 2019 MLS Playoffs. A victory over LAFC would also give the Rapids bragging rights as the only team this season to beat LAFC twice.
Goodbye To An American Legend
40 year-old Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard will potentially play his last professional match in MLS on Sunday at Banc of California Stadium. The former U.S. international is the most-capped goalkeeper of all-time for the U.S. Men’s National Team, including two Gold Cup trophies. Howard played 491 matches with Manchester United and Everton in England’s Premier League and an additional 195 games in MLS with the New Jersey and Colorado. Make sure to play your respects to one of the greatest American goalkeepers of all-time.
LAFC head coach Bob Bradley on playing one of the hottest teams in the league:
“We’ve played against many teams lately that were on good runs and I actually think it’s worked to our advantage. It’s kept us focused and understanding what tough opponents are all about. Colorado has played well; they are a team that has physical qualities, defensively organized and good on set pieces. All those things are good things for being at your best come playoff time.”
Colorado Rapids Robin Fraser on facing LAFC:
“They’re excellent everywhere on the field. They move collectively well as a team, they have very good individual players and it’s no mystery why they are where they are. This is the biggest challenge for us all year and for us it’s about having clear ideas on what we want to do defensively and clear ideas on how we want to attack and being able to execute in the moment.
International Break and First-Week Bye
After the conclusion of Sunday’s games, MLS will take one-week layoff due to the international FIFA break. The First Round of the 2019 Playoffs will begin on Saturday, October 19th but since LAFC clinched the top spot in the West, they will get a bye for that week. Therefore, LAFC will get a potential 17-18 day “rest” period before their next match, which will either be on Wednesday October 23rd or Thursday October 24th.