With something on the line for both teams, each played strong lineups. Tyler Miller returned in goal for LAFC, and Tristan Blackmon started at right back, while Colorado also fielded a full-strength lineup with a longshot at making the playoffs on the line.
Carlos Vela nearly scored his historic goal in the 16th minute, as a centering pass bounced out to him at the top of the box, but his deflected effort snaked just wide of the post.
But he got the all-important 32nd goal of the MLS regular season in the 28th minute, with an early effort in transition from well outside the box.
He followed that up just three minutes later with another goal, a bicycle kick in the 6-yard box that was absolutely unstoppable, to make it 2-0 and 33 goals on the campaign.
But the Rapids didn’t give up, and Kei Kamara scored on a trademark diving header off Diego Rubio’s cross, which clanged off the post and beat Miller into the net, to make it 2-1 just before halftime.
Vela wrapped up a hat trick in the 51st minute, tapping in his third goal of the day and 34th of the season, after a nicely whipped in cross from Tristan Blackmon to set him up.
A scary moment came shortly after the hour mark, as Walker Zimmerman clashed heads with Kamara on an aerial challenge and slammed into the turf face-first. He was attended to for several minutes before exiting the match with Steven Beitashour replacing him.
Diego Palacios also subbed on for Jordan Harvey in the 82nd minute.
Last season, LAFC set an MLS record for most points in a franchise’s inaugural season, and today’s 3-1 finish set a new league record for most points in a single season with 72. Perhaps even more amazing is this stat that demonstrates just how good this team has been through just two years of existence: in 34 home games, LAFC has scored a whopping 80 goals, a powerful average of 2.35 goals per game.
An immaculate regular season in which LAFC won the Supporters’ Shield and captain Carlos Vela broke the points and goals record comes to a perfect end with a regular season record point total. Vela wins the Golden Boot and most likely win the MVP award, but there is one more trophy left to play for.
This team solidified the first place in the western conference long ago, so they will enjoy a first-round bye in the MLS Cup Playoffs waiting on the winner between Minnesota United FC, a team LAFC played twice this year but never beat, or in-town rival LA Galaxy, who we all know have never fallen to LAFC. Buckle up.
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