Diego Rossi, LAFC strive for consistency as playoffs near

As any young player is prone to, Diego Rossi's debut season in MLS has been sewed together by streaks. 

Rossi's first third of the season was scorching hot; the second third was cold; now can he find sustained consistency in the final third? It sure looks like he's on his way.

The speedy winger put together a match-winning performance on Sunday against the Colorado Rapids, scoring the club's second goal in their 2-0 win. His goal was a memorable one, taking on defenders at pace, creating a half-yard for himself and expertly firing his shot past Tim Howard into the top corner. Prior to the goal, Rossi largely seemed LAFC's most likely source of joy in attack as the Rapids did well to keep Carlos Vela and Christian Ramirez in check.

"In this last stretch, he's been awesome," head coach Bob Bradley said after Sunday's win. "He had a little period there where I think it dipped a little bit, we talked to him and challenged him. He responded really well."

Rossi appears to be back on the same form that he began the season with. He scored a goal in his debut, LAFC's first MLS goal, then had two goals and three assists the following weekend. For a player who celebrated his 20th birthday a day after his debut, he set an untenable standard for himself after two appearances. The Uruguayan would get his third goal in his fifth game, helping LAFC take the league by storm three wins in those first five matches-- all on the road.

But then Rossi would score just once more over the next two-and-a-half months as Vela, Adama Diomande, Latif Blessing and the rest of LAFC's luminous attack shone brighter. Rossi wasn't ineffective during that time, but he did not fail to contribute to the team as his pace and workrate ensured he was still a valuable member of the squad even as his end product dried up.

Now, the ever-valuable end product has begun to flow once again for Rossi.

Since scoring off the bench against Orlando City SC on July 7 in his side's 4-1 win, Rossi has started all but one game. He has six goals in those eight appearances, including a hat-trick in LAFC's heartbreaking U.S. Open Cup semifinal loss in penalties at Houston, days after scoring against the Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena.

A culmination of his excellent six weeks, Rossi's directness and conviction on Sunday suggest a player full of confidence.

"In this last stretch of games his confidence, mixing of passes and running with the ball is great to see," Bradley said. "He's in a really good run lately and now we just have to keep pushing him forward because he's talented and, for a young player, he brings so much to our team. He's fun to watch-- I think people leave the stadium and, if they haven't come before, he's a guy they want to come back and watch again."

LAFC will look for him to continue his solid stretch with one of the biggest matches of the season on Friday, as they visit the LA Galaxy in a Heineken Rivalry Week match that will likely produce fireworks (10:30 pm ET | ESPN — Full TV & streaming info).