Los Angeles FC made the best possible start to their 2022 MLS season with a comfortable 3-0 home win over the Colorado Rapids made possible by an opening day hat-trick from Carlos Vela.
The Black and Gold have undergone a transformation over the winter, with Steve Cherundolo replacing Bob Bradley in the dugout and a number of exciting new players coming into the squad.
All that extra quality was on full show as LAFC totally dominated the visitors. But, in the end, it was an old faithful face who delivered the goods, with a Carlos Vela hat-trick doing the damage.
For Colorado, the biggest worry must be the lack of attacking cohesion after failing to register a single shot on target.
LAFC player ratings
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Maxime Crepeau (GK) - 6/10 - A spectator for most of the match. Probably would have been best served getting acquainted with the 3252.
Franco Escobar (RB) - 6/10 - Couldn't quite connect in attack but was solid as a rock at the back.
Jesus Murillo (CB) - 8/10 - Blocked a shot with his head early on but was cleared to carry on. A good thing, too, as Murillo was equal to everything the Rapids tried.
Mamadou Fall (CB) - 7/10 - One of the most promising center-backs in MLS and showed it here, shutting the Rapids down with ease.
Diego Palacios (LB) - 7/10 - Spent more time in the Colorado half than his own and enjoyed the attacking freedom, causing plenty of trouble down the left.
Kellyn Acosta (CM) - 7/10 - A very solid debut against his old club for Acosta, who never missed a beat with the ball and even won a penalty for Vela's opener.
Ilie Sanchez (CM) - 8/10 - Tidy with the ball, varied with his passing, and ruthless defensively. If Sanchez carries on like this, LAFC will have no trouble adjusting to life without Eduard Atuesta.
Jose Cifuentes (CM) - 9/10 - Picked up two assists from three key passes and caused Colorado no end of trouble with his aggressive running on the ball. Continues to be a high-end performer for the Black and Gold.
Kwadwo Opoku (RW) - 7/10 - A couple of naive moments, but gave the Rapids defense a hard time with his direct dribbling.
Carlos Vela (CF) - 10/10 - Just like MLS, Vela is back! The Mexican was unstoppable in Week One, netting a hat-trick, including a beautiful third. The Rapids never stood a chance. In this form, Vela is by far the best player in MLS. Let's hope this is the start of another injury-free, record-breaking season.
Brian Rodriguez (LW) - 6/10 - A couple of exciting moments but as has often been the case during his time in LA, Rodriguez ran down too many dead ends and frustrated fans. 0/6 for dribbles on the night. Came off injured late on.
Cristian Arango (for Opoku, 72 mins) - 6/10 - Didn't get a chance to open his 2022 account but certainly let the Rapids defenders know he was there and set up a good chance for Musovski.
Latif Blessing (for Acosta, 72 mins) - 6/10 - Was as busy and active as usual during his late cameo.
Danny Musovski (for Rodriguez, 80 mins) - 4/10 - Didn't really get into the game and hit his once chance straight at Yarbrough.
Ryan Hollingshead (for Vela, 86 mins) - N/A - A very brief cameo for his debut.
Doneil Henry (for Murillo, 86 mins) - N/A - Like Hollingshead, a short-lived debut.
Colorado Rapids player ratings
5. Goalkeeper & defenders
Will Yarbrough (GK) - 5/10 - Made a couple of good saves but couldn't hold back the LAFC tide. Left on an island by his defenders.
Keegan Rosenberry (RBW) - 5/10 - Perhaps should have covered his center-backs more. But with three of them, is that really his job?
Lalas Abubakar (CB) - 2/10 - Committed a handball for Vela's penalty to open the scoring and allowed the Mexican to get behind him time and again. A disastrous performance from a usually reliable center-back.
Danny Wilson (CB) - 3/10 - Stepped up late to keep Vela onside for the second goal. Like Abubakar, this was a bad day for a defender we expect better from.
Auston Trusty (CB) - 3/10 - Was beaten too easily on a few occasions. Showed too much respect to Vela for the third goal.
Lucas Esteves (LWB) - 5/10 - One of the few promising rapids players, driving the ball forward and trying to make things happen whenever he could. Lacked composure with his final ball, shown by his 0/8 cross completion stat. That said, he had literally nothing to aim at.
Jack Price (CM) - 5/10 - Put in a decent shift and was tidy with the ball as usual. But just had too much to do against an endless LAFC onslaught.
Mark-Anthony Kaye (CM) - 4/10 - While Acosta enjoyed himself against his former club, the same cannot be said for Kaye.
Max Alves (CM) - 5/10 - Had a couple of promising exchanges with Estevez early on but faded fast and was withdrawn just after the third LAFC goal.
Jonathan Lewis (ST) - 2/10 - Hardly had a touch of the ball. Had a couple of chances to run in behind and create a passing angle for Estevez but passed them up. Doesn't have the natural instincts of an out-and-out striker.
Bryan Acosta (ST) - 3/10 - Didn't create a chance or attempt a shot. Was totally snuffed out by the LAFC defense.
Diego Rubio (for Acosta, 53 mins) - 6/10 - Attempted a couple of shots and made Colorado a little more exciting.
Michael Barrios (for Alves, 53 mins) - 6/10 - Went on a couple of exciting runs but had nobody up there with him.
Nicolas Mezquida (for Lewis, 64 mins) - 6/10 - Added a bit of life to the Rapids attack but the damage was already done.
Andre Shinyashiki (for Kaye, 82 mins) - NA - No time to change the game.