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Relentless Rapids dominate L.A. Galaxy, inch up the table

Fans and players relish in the overdue victory at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park 

John Babiak

Before a near-capacity audience at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Robin Fraser’s side mirrored a high-energy crowd and dominated the Los Angeles Galaxy throughout their 2-0 win. His Colorado Rapids team delivered both nose-to-nose intensity and consistency that most of this season has been lacking. The palatable victory for all brought back not to distant memories of the Rapids’ play in the final months of the 2021 season.

Earlier in the week, Fraser said he was hoping to catch the potent Galaxy team off guard. Whether he did or not, his team’s dogged performance plus a play-off-like atmosphere made the difference in the outcome.

Missed calls during the rough match lighted even the stoic Fraser’s fuse. Late in the match, he popped off at referees, so much that his jawing earn the runner-up to the 2021 MLS Manager of the Year honor a rare yellow card.

In turn, he reflected the boisterous fans and clapped after the card was hoisted.

After the game, an upbeat Fraser spoke with the media and stated, “I’m really, really proud of the performance. I thought, we have felt like we were starting to play well, gaining some real confidence, and creating quite a few chances. We were certainly hoping for a game that we could kind of put it all together. Fraser added, “We’ve talked a lot in this room with you guys about inconsistencies. One of our goals certainly has been to obviously continue to improve. But with regard to consistency, it’s have a solid performance in the back and a good performance up front and to sustain it for 90 minutes.”

On the attacking end of the Rapids game, both a penetrating Jonathan Lewis, Diego Rubio and Gyasi Zardes tested the Galaxy’s back four and their veteran keeper.

In the 20th minute, a flashy Diego Rubio took a pass from winger Lewis near the middle top of the 18. He took two steps and unleashed a missile that streaked by L.A.’s keeper Jonathan Bond. The crowd stood and roared, sirens blared, and Rubio celebrated. The goal was Rubio’s ninth of the season.

Next, it was Gyasi Zardes turn to find the back of the net. Only a few minutes after Rubio’s goal, Zardes took a corner kick from Bryan Acosta. Zardes drilled it with a header into the back netting. Once again, the spectators jumped with joy, and the air raid siren blared. However, the goal was questioned, reviewed, and ultimately was called back.

Zardes earned another opportunity in the second half to score. This time his goal was the real deal.

John Babiak

Again it was Lewis who set up the score. The winger penetrated the box. He made eye contact with Zardes, then promptly back passed the ball to the big forward. Zardes swatted at it, and it flew past Bonds to put the game out of reach of Los Angeles.

It was the former Galaxy member’s second goal in as many outings.

During his press conference, Zardes commented, “I thought we came out and played an incredible first half, and right away we’re on top of them. I felt like we had a couple of spells when Jonathan Lewis got us out of things and also Michael as well—Barrios—and Diego played phenomenally, but I think altogether, even our backline, we were solid.” He elaborated, “We were talking about engagement and being committed to each other, and I felt like the guys in the back, they did a phenomenal job today at keeping the clean sheet.”

On the defensive end of the Rapids effort, William Yarbrough came up big, repelling two wicked attempts directed at his goal's mouth. He recorded his seventh shutout of the season and 24th all-time with the Rapids, surpassing Tim Howard for fourth-most in club history.

Fraser spoke of Yarbrough’s efforts during training sessions and in this match. “He’s a very, very good leader and incredibly focused... in terms of how he drives a team, and his mindset is extremely professional. He’s one of the most focused individuals I’ve been around, and he demands not only of himself but of others.” Fraser continued. “He’s been obviously very, very good for us and a big part of sustaining the culture that we were creating even before he got here, and he’s become a huge part of it. And what a hell of a save tonight.”

Defensive back Danny Wilson put forth one of his best efforts of the year. He, too, came up a winner when dueling with L.A.’s attackers. He was a frequent target during set pieces.

Rubio’s complete effort earned him Man of the Match honors and a postmatch interview that had many of the lingering fans laughing it up with him.