MLS

Colorado Rapids 3-2 Los Angeles FC: Mihailovic nets twice in late comeback

By Sports Desk March 30, 2024

Colorado Rapids twice came from behind to beat Los Angeles FC 3-2 in Saturday's thrilling MLS clash at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

Djordje Mihailovic was the Rapids' hero, with two goals in the space of six minutes late in the first half.

Moise Bombito's first-half header had pulled Colorado level in the first half, cancelling out Eduard Atuesta's early strike.

David Martinez had put LAFC seemingly in control, yet the LAFC substitute turned from hero to zero when he was sent off in the 85th minute, paving the way for Mihailovic to follow up a stunning equaliser with a close-range winner.

The Black and Gold made a quick start as Denis Bouanga hit the bar with a wayward cross shortly before the opening goal.

Atuesta rifled his long-range shot into the bottom-right corner, netting his second goal in as many games for LAFC.

The momentum shifted in favour of the Rapids in the later stages of the first half, and they capitalised on it as Bombito rose highest on a corner to score his first MLS goal – a thumping header past Hugo Lloris into the near post.

Bouanag was denied by Zack Steffen, but the visitors got their goal when Martinez capped off a mazy run with a low finish beyond the Rapids goalkeeper.

Yet Martinez's day was soon to turn sour as, after Mihailovic's excellent free-kick had restored parity, he picked up a second yellow card in the space of seven minutes.

The Rapids made their numerical advantage count, with Mihailovic stretching out a leg to prod home in the 89th minute, sealing a memorable win that took Colorado into third place in the Western Conference.

Colorado find their shooting boots

It looked like Colorado's poor streak on home turf was going to be extended, but Mihailovic's double ensured they would pick up their first three points in Denver season.

A lack of a clinical edge seemed set to cost them again, with Colorado having managed just five goals from their five games before Saturday's encounter, but the floodgates opened this time around.

Coach Chris Armas has pointed to their finishing as a problem area, so he will undoubtedly be thrilled to see the work pay off, as the Rapids also made it five straight wins against LAFC at home.

LAFC's misery on the road continues

For the third time this season, the Black and Gold lost on the road, and Steve Cherundolo will be rueing their missed opportunities.

Despite making a bright start in both halves, they struggled to maintain their momentum, especially after Colorado's equalisers.

A win would have taken them top in the Western Conference, temporarily at least, but their dropped points mean they sit in eighth, with seven points from their six games so far.

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    Jack Grealish believes Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea gives Manchester City the perfect opportunity to put their Champions League agony behind them.

    City’s hopes of successfully defending their European crown – and winning a second successive treble – were shattered on Wednesday as they were beaten by Real Madrid on penalties.

    The defeat was particularly galling given that City had dominated the second leg of the quarter-final tie at the Etihad Stadium, but they have little time to dwell on their misfortune.

    Attention has immediately shifted to Wembley and a key clash in City’s bid to retain one of the other two trophies they won in glorious fashion last season.

    Midfielder Grealish said: “We’ve not been used to losing, especially in the last couple of years. We always knew it was going to be a tough game against one of the best teams in the world.

    “It went down to penalties and it’s never nice to go out on penalties. Luckily enough for us we’ve got another game within three days where we can go and put it right.

    “Sometimes it’s better when it’s like that. It’s better when you can put it right straight away rather than waiting and dwelling on it for a couple of weeks.

    “It’s the perfect game for us to put it right.”

    As well as being favourites for the FA Cup, City have put themselves in a strong position to win the Premier League for a fourth year in succession and a sixth time in seven years.

    Grealish said: “This year, if we win the Premier League and the FA Cup it would be a hugely successful season. Hopefully we can go on and do that and that’s our aim.”

    It has been a frustrating campaign in a personal sense for Grealish, although he has regained form and his place in the side in recent games.

    The 28-year-old England international, who excelled in the treble-winning season, struggled to find consistency after an injury in the autumn and was then hindered by further fitness issues.

    “It’s been difficult,” he said. “Especially on the back of last year, I had such a good season.

    “At the moment, I feel good and I feel confident. At the start of the season, I don’t know, I just didn’t feel like I was playing well really. I didn’t really feel that fit if I’m honest.

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    Grealish spoke recently about his determination to repay manager Pep Guardiola for guiding him through his difficult spell and he remains keen to deliver for the City boss.

    He said: “I’ve got a really good relationship with him. I’ve said before that he’s the best manager in the world, in my opinion.

    “I’ve had my own problems, even off the pitch, and he’s always spoken to me and been there for me.

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  • Cole Palmer has nothing to prove to City, says Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino Cole Palmer has nothing to prove to City, says Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino

    Mauricio Pochettino believes Cole Palmer will go into Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City on Saturday with nothing to prove to his former employers, insisting he is the right manager to help the 21-year-old continue his stunning ascendancy.

    Palmer, who left Chelsea’s Wembley opponents in a £42.5million deal in the summer, is joint top scorer in the Premier League after his four goals in Monday’s 6-0 demolition of Everton moved him level with City’s Erling Haaland on 20 for the season.

    He has netted an incredible seven times in the team’s last two home games, including a hat-trick in the breathless 4-3 win over Manchester United when two of his goals came in the 10th and 11th minutes of stoppage time.

    He previously scored from the penalty spot in the fifth minute of added time to snatch a point in a 4-4 draw when City visited west London in November.

    Palmer has previously stated his decision to leave the champions – for whom he scored twice in August in the Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup – was based on the belief he would get more first-team game time at Chelsea.

    That decision has been thoroughly vindicated, with his performances for Mauricio Pochettino’s frustratingly inconsistent side placing him in the reckoning for the PFA Player of the Year award.

    His odds on winning the award have been slashed by as much as half with some bookmakers since his Everton haul.

    But his manager said there was no possibility the England international would face City with an axe to grind.

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    Prior to joining Chelsea, Palmer had played only 19 senior league games spread over three seasons, and had not scored in the Premier League.

    Yet he is now a genuine contender to deprive his former team-mate Haaland of the Golden Boot won by the Norwegian last season.

    There is also the growing prospect of his being selected in Gareth Southgate’s squad for Euro 2024 in Germany this summer.

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    Football’s national governing body said it “understands the concerns” expressed in the last 24 hours and said it would be “sharing more details with clubs very shortly to explain the additional revenue opportunities in the early rounds”.

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    So the EFL backed the changes?

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    What happens now?

    The FA says it will try to convince lower-league clubs they will not “lose out” as a result of the changes. The EFL says the FA and the Premier League must “re-evaluate their approach” to dealing with it and its 72 clubs.

    York owner Matt Uggla has said he will contact all those clubs who have spoken out in opposition to the changes to “discuss our options” regarding the FA Cup.

    “We might be called small clubs but together we are giants,” he wrote on X.

    He described boycotting the FA Cup as “the nuclear option”.

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