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#LAGvCOL: Breaking down key plays

We won! We won! We actually won!

MLS: Colorado Rapids at LA Galaxy Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

While many people may have been watching the series finale of Game of Thrones on Sunday night, the Colorado Rapids were finally able to get their first win of the 2019 season! Thanks to their first clean sheet of the year, the Burgundy Boys only needed one goal to get their win by a score of 1-0.

Thanks to that scoreline, we only get to look at one goal this week in the breakdown...

Rapids bag the winner 1-0 (82’)

All night the Rapids had chances to score on the counter. The Galaxy were repeatedly pushing both of their outside backs high, so they were often left with two in the back. If the Rapids could jump on them quick, they would have them outnumbered.

This is exactly how the Rapids got this 3v2. They spread wide and both defenders converge on Andre Shinyashiki, allowing him to pick if he wants to play Kei Kamara or Jack Price. He decides on the lethal finisher Kamara. Kamara ends up unable to put the shot away, but Shinyashiki is able to follow the rebound and put it away.

Other Thoughts

Cole Bassett played surprisingly high

On paper, the Rapids were lined up in a 4-3-3, but they often fell into more of a 4-4-1-1. I thought Colorado would keep Jonathan Lewis and Sam Nicholson high and wide with a nice tight triangle in the middle, but many times Bassett ended up playing like a second forward. When he would do that, the wingers would drop into the midfield.

I’m not sure I quite agree with this strategy. Bassett has been good this season, but he doesn’t quite have the offensive prowess to be a second forward. Add in the fact that Lewis and Nicholson were dangerous going forward, and I’m not sure why the Rapids ended up with these tactics. With an incoming DP number 10, this could be a potential tactic going forward.

I have no idea how this game ended 1-0

Throughout the game, both teams had countless chances. Keegan Rosenberry cleared a ball off the line. Tim Howard made a few good saves. Lewis missed a breakaway. Kamara hit the post and missed a wide-open chance. The whole game, both teams seemed to just be missing the final ball, and the Rapids wouldn’t have even gotten a goal had it not been for a rebound on a great chance.

On any other day, this game could have finished something like three or four goals each and despite the clean sheet, the Colorado defense still struggled to defend like a team. They often ended up stretched out or left a man unmarked, and they were lucky that the Galaxy didn’t put a few chances away.

On the flip side, the Rapids offense also looked dangerous. Just looking at the chances Kamara missed and the Lewis breakaway, they could have easily had three more goals. A four-goal outing would have been nice, and it shows that this is still a team that can score goals (when they finish).

The substitutions were smart

During their time under Anthony Hudson, early subs were often used to make up for poor tactics. On Sunday, the subs felt like smart tactical moves. Nicolas Mezquida came in to bring energy, hustle, and a forward drive. Then, Shinyashiki came in to get a second striker in the game and try to get a goal. Eventually, they got the goal, and they brought in Sam Vines during extra time to reinforce the defense and waste a little time.

Overall, it was refreshing to see smart subs made at good times, and even more refreshing to see them making a difference!

Got any other thoughts on Sunday’s game? Let us know in the comments section!