After shocking weather conditions left Allianz Field under inches of rain, the Colorado Rapids and Minnesota United were required to resume their Wednesday night US Open Cup match on Thursday afternoon. Beyond the chaos of the tournament, the delay also forced the Rapids to surrender an extra day of rest before facing LAFC on Sunday for Major League Soccer action at DSG Park.
While the Rapids may be at a disadvantage, it won’t be easy for LAFC either. Head coach Steve Cherundolo admitted it will be difficult to analyze and anticipate their opponent’s tactics heading into the game, waiting until the match itself to “understand what it feels like.”
“To really understand what it feels and looks like, we’ll have to wait until the game time,” Cherundolo said of Colorado’s approach.
“They have been changing their lineups, their formations the past couple weeks. So there is that X factor. We do not know. What we do know is how we’ll play. We would like to put the game on our terms at all costs.”
LAFC has seen a successful start to their 2022 MLS campaign, currently leading the Western Conference with 23 points in 10 games to propel them up the Supporters’ Shield standings. But while Cherundolo has inspired the team to several key away victories, the Rapids will not be sitting back on Saturday.
After the exhausting 2-1 loss to Minnesota, Robin Fraser’s side is desperate for a win.
“We do everything we need to do to put ourselves in a position to win this game and the disappointment is pretty high in a lot of things right now,” Fraser said after Thursday’s defeat.
“But all we can do is get ourselves together and turn around and play in 48 hours, and you know, hope that [in] the stretch that we have coming up, we don't see injuries based on lack of recovery time for the players.”
To the Rapids’ relief, striker Gyasi Zardes will be good to go on Saturday after missing out on the US Open Cup fixture.
LAFC’s roster depth will also give them plenty to choose from to battle Zardes, with eight of their 23 league goals coming from players who have been subbed in mid-match.
“We have the ability to make changes and to affect the dynamics of games, either tactically or with personnel,” Cherundolo said, adding: “So we’ll just have to adapt to the unknown as it comes. But that is something that we’ve dealt with well this year. I’m sure our boys will be ready for it.”