From a physiological standpoint, the Colorado Rapids had plenty stacked against them when hosting LAFC on Saturday afternoon.
They were just 48 hours removed from competing in the US Open Cup, with their eventual 2-1 loss to Minnesota United FC pushed back to a Thursday afternoon resumption time after inclement weather created a lengthy delay.
But the Rapids dug deep against the Supporters’ Shield leaders and won 2-0, moving to 22 regular-season games unbeaten at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – rebounding amid unforeseen circumstances.
“Obviously the weather was really against us and in a weird way, I think it kind of banded the guys closer together,” midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye told MLSsoccer.com postgame. “It was definitely not what anyone would want or sign up for at the beginning. But we knew there was nothing else we could do but show up today and give it our best.
“We kind of used that as extra motivation. We felt like things were going against us and there's always a good time to turn negatives into positives. We saw the result of it today.”
WATCH: Colorado Rapids take down early Supporters' Shield leaders LAFC
Colorado twice tallied from the penalty-kick spot during the first half, first when Gyasi Zardes scored his first goal since his arrival via trade from the Columbus Crew and then when Diego Rubio netted his team-leading sixth goal. And their defense held LAFC to their first scoreless outing this year, plus handed the Black & Gold just their second loss of the 2022 campaign.
It was an impressive bounce-back from Colorado, especially having lost 3-0 at LAFC on MLS is Back weekend in late February.
“I am so f---ing proud of this team because we have been dealt the worst, not the worst, but the amount of adversity we've had to deal with this week, extremely, extremely challenging circumstances," manager Robin Fraser said. "And on the heels of what we've done – I mean, we were playing 48 hours ago. That's unprecedented."
The result gives Colorado two wins in three league matches, perhaps turning a corner after an early Concacaf Champions League exit to Guatemalan side Comunicaciones. That seemed to derail their search for second gear, struggling to build off 2021’s Western Conference regular-season title and club-record 61 points.
But there’s a belief in the Rapids’ locker room that they’re nowhere near their peak at this juncture.
“On a day like today, where we're thinking of maybe being a little tired or you didn't get enough sleep in the last three days, the biggest thing is you're focusing on making sure you do your job,” Kaye said. “We have a game plan that works and we just need to stick to it and continue to add to it. If we can consistently play our game throughout the rest of the year, we'll be able to pick up a lot more points going forward. We'll continue to add little things, but we've got to play the Colorado way of football.”
Colorado’s next chance to stack three points comes Wednesday when traveling to a Sporting Kansas City side on the foot of the table (8:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).
"It's one of those things where, you know, at the end of last year, we win the West and everyone's talking about Colorado Rapids," Fraser said. "And our season hasn't started result-wise great – we've had some pretty good performances but we've missed out on opportunities to get results – so then we become an afterthought in the league. And at the end of the day, I'm with this group and I trust them and their character and we will go down fighting. If we're going to go down, we're going to go down fighting and that's the thing I've always loved about this team.”