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Downstream Game 34: Home vs LAFC

The 2021 regular season comes to a close as the Rapids look to take the top spot in the Western Conference.

Colorado Rapids v Los Angeles FC Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images

Los Angeles FC Stats

2021 Record: 12-12-9 WLT, 45 points for 1.36 PPG

Goals: 51 for, 46 allowed, +5 differential

Power Rankings: LAFC #16 (+1), Rapids #4 (-)

Last Result: 1-1 tie vs Vancouver Whitecaps

The final game of the regular season is upon us. One last chance to play in front of the Colorado Rapids faithful before the playoffs start. It is so beautiful it almost brings a tear to my eye.

The conversation for this game isn’t about LAFC, though, it is about how the Rapids can win the conference.

Here’s the deal: Thanks to points dropped from the Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City over their midweek games, the Rapids can still grab first place in the West. Win or lose, we can’t fall below third. Basically what this means is that if things go poorly, we’ll still be ending one of the all-time greatest Rapids regular seasons ever. We’ll be hosting at least one playoff game, which is fantastic. Because we’ve locked in for at least third in the West and fourth overall, if the Sounders, Kansas City, New England Revolution (or the Rapids) get the MLS Cup, we will also be in the CONCACAF Champions League.

That being said — boy oh boy, do the Burgundy Boys have something to play for this game. While I kind of hate the phrase “we control our own destiny,” we at least own a part of it. It depends on how the Sounders and SKC do on Decision Day as well. Seattle is playing Vancouver away, while Sporting is hosting RSL at home. All of the Western Conference games are going to start at the same time, so we’ll be learning our fate within minutes of the final whistle.

  • If we want to get first, we have to win and neither Seattle nor Kansas City can win their games.
  • We will place second if we win and one of Seattle or Kansas City do not win their games, OR we tie against LAFC and SKC lose against RSL.
  • Any other situation and we will be in third.
  • If we end in first or second place, we will automatically qualify for CCL as well.

LAFC though is on some incredibly shaky ground. While they haven’t technically been eliminated from playoff contention, they are in a losing situation. They are at 9th, below RSL (tied on points but RSL has more wins). The Galaxy is at 7th with a two-point lead and also has one more win than LAFC. If LAFC want a spot in the playoffs, they are in a similar boat as us in that they are dependent on other teams dropping points. They will need to pull off a win and have either Vancouver lose or have Salt Lake lose or tie vs SKC. Expect them to come out and fight like a caged animal on Sunday as they scramble to make the playoffs and keep their streak alive.

Regardless of what happens, we’re in the playoffs. We’ll be playing at home. This whole season has been pretty fantastic. Some low points, unquestionably, but overall this still sits as one of the all-time greatest Rapids seasons ever. The only season that comes this close points-wise was in 2016 where we ended with 58 points (same as we have going into this game) and quite frankly — between the two, I think that our roster right now is the stronger one. I feel like this team has the better vibe, the better coach, the better je ne sais quoi to make a deeper push into the playoffs.

For the not-quite-last time this season, let’s go watch the Rapids play. Winning solidifies this team as one of the Rapids greats, and puts us into contention for the first spot. Being top of the West… sounds nice, doesn’t it?