Carlos Vela scored one goal and assisted another in his first match since he incurred a leg injury early this month and LAFC romped to a 4-0 victory over the visiting Colorado Rapids on Wednesday night.
Mateusz Bogusz and Ryan Hollingshead also scored before halftime for LAFC (11-6-7, 40 points) in a game that was postponed from Saturday because of the impact of Hurricane Hilary in Southern California over the weekend.
Recent addition Cristian Olivera scored his first MLS goal on his league debut to give some late insurance for the Black & Gold as they moved into sole possession of second place in the Western Conference, four points back of St. Louis City.
John McCarthy made four stops to keep his eighth clean sheet of the season and LAFC’s ninth.
Colorado (3-11-10, 19 points) failed to score for the 13th time this season despite seeing Diego Rubio make his first MLS appearance since May 13 after recovering from an upper-body injury.
Brazilian summer signing Rafael Navarro also made his league debut up top alongside Rubio but couldn’t help the Rapids generate a consistent attacking threat.
Last-place Colorado was outshot 20-13 overall and 8-4 in terms of efforts on target while failing to narrow the 12-point gap between their position and the West playoff line.
Bogusz opened the scoring in the 19th minute on one of LAFC’s trademark counterattacks. It was Vela with the ball in space who sprayed it left, where Bogusz took it and curled a right-footed finish beyond goalkeeper Marko Ilic and narrowly inside the right post.
Vela got his goal 10 minutes later when Ilie Sanchez spotted him from the left flank with an incisive pass toward the penalty arc. Vela held his run to receive it, then turned with his first touch and finished cleanly to double the home side’s lead.
Hollingshead was a little more fortunate to add his third goal of the season on a run down the left in the 36th minute. The left back appeared to be trying to spot new signing Mario Gonzalez with a cross from the opposite flank. Instead, Hollingshead’s out-swinging cross attempt sailed past Ilic and nestled perfectly inside the side netting to make it 3-0.
—Field Level Media
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