The Mexican forward added his second goal six minutes later after José Cifuentes won the ball in midfield and quickly played behind the Rapids' defense. Vela shook off a challenge from behind by Abubakar to again beat Yarbrough.
Vela’s third was a trademark finish, running down the right channel before cutting back to his left with a tidy curler inside the far post. From there, the hosts went into cruise control in their season-opening win.
- THE BIG PICTURE: A big season for LAFC, and the beginning of the Steve Cherundolo era, got off to a smashing start thanks to the hat trick hero Carlos Vela. And what a start for Vela, who has been limited to just nine goals the last two years after an MLS-record 34 in 2019. Meanwhile, 2022 couldn’t have started worse for the Rapids, who followed up a Concacaf Champions League midweek ouster on penalties with a listless performance in a 3-0 regular season-opening defeat.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: This third goal was vintage Vela.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Was this ever in doubt?