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LAFC top Colorado Rapids behind Diego Rossi’s brace

May 22, 2021; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Colorado Rapids defender Lalas Abubakar (6) lunges for the ball against Los Angeles FC forward Diego Rossi (9) during the first half at Banc of California Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
May 22, 2021; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Colorado Rapids defender Lalas Abubakar (6) lunges for the ball against Los Angeles FC forward Diego Rossi (9) during the first half at Banc of California Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Diego Rossi scored twice in the first half and LAFC defeated the Colorado Rapids 2-1 at home on Saturday night.

Carlos Vela, the 2019 MLS MVP, made his second start of the season and assisted on Rossi’s second goal after missing three games with a leg injury.

After beginning the weekend last in the Western Conference, the victory moves LAFC (2-2-2, 8 points) up to ninth in the West table, even with Real Salt Lake on points but behind on goal difference.

Michael Barrios scored his first goal for Colorado in his sixth game for his new club after six seasons with Dallas.

But the Rapids (3-2-1, 10 points) saw their three-match winning streak snapped on a night they were deserving losers. They now sit fifth in the West, six points off leaders Seattle, which plays on Sunday afternoon.

Los Angeles led Colorado 17-11 in shots and 5-2 in efforts on target, and held nearly three-fifths of the possession time.

Rossi now has three goals on the season, a year removed from the 14 he scored to win the 2020 MLS Golden Boot.

He gave the hosts the lead after 14 minutes.

Eduard Atuesta began the move, playing a probing pass into Corey Baird near the penalty arc.

Baird sliced past a couple defenders on the dribble, then guided a diagonal ball to Rossi, who finished low inside the left post with his first touch, giving goalkeeper William Yarbrough little chance.

Vela was at the heart of Rossi’s second goal 19 minutes later, taking an innocent looking pass from Tristan Blackmon in midfield, weathering a challenge and taking the ball forward, then finding Rossi inside the penalty area.

Barrios pulled a goal back five minutes after halftime, running onto Diego Rubio’s ball over the top and then driving a finish low past Pablo Sisniega.

Sisniega saved another 1-on-1 against Barrios not long after, which proved to be the Rapids best chance to equalize over the final 40 minutes and their final shot on goal.

–Field Level Media