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Carlos Vela nets three, crushes Rapids in MLS season opener

The Rapids dropped 3-0 to start their 2022 MLS season, it was ugly

John A. Babiak, Burgundy Wave

Carlos Vela netted his second career hat trick against the Colorado Rapids, as the Burgundy Boys were downed 3-0 to open 2022 MLS play.

Vela got to the spot, scoring a penalty for his first 29 minutes in. The shot was awarded after former Rapids player Kellyn Acosta took advantage of a Lalas Abubakar turnover. Acosta smashed a pass in the box off of Abubakar’s elbow which led to the easy Vela goal.

Six minutes later, the Mexican star found his way between Abubakar and Danny Wilson on the rush to toe in an easy shot past William Yarbrough. The scored stayed 2-0 at the break.

Five minutes into the second half LAFC was out and running. Vela took the offense on himself, attacking from the wing, entering the box and smashing a left-footed farside shot from just inside the 18 to complete a natural hat trick.

Robin Fraser finally made changes after going down triple. But the strongest fight the Rapids showed was in the form of several skirmishes.

To be fair to the Colorado club, the PK was against the run of play, with the Rapids having a decent 25 minutes to start the match. The second goal could’ve been taken away had it gone to VAR but we never saw a good angle. The third goal was the best player in the league taking over.

Even being nice, the Rapids didn’t got a shot on target until the 73rd minute. The expected goals were 2.6 to 0.3.

So yeah, it was a disaster of a debut and has been a terrible 10 days. Is it time to panic? Maybe not yet. The Rapids lost their opener last year to Austin and then went on to have a terrific season. But Colorado’s issues were predicted, and their weakness are well known.

Neither Diego Rubio nor Michael Barrios started; instead, Jonathan Lewis was the starting “striker.” No matter, the Rapids have struggled in all their looks so far offensively this season, at least when playing at 11 a side. But it wasn’t just the offense this Saturday, defense was not a strong suit and overall, it was just a butt-kicking. Sweet revenge for Kellyn Acosta.

The Rapids host Atlanta at 4 p.m. next Saturday. It’s Colorado’s home opener.