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Djordje Mihailovic shows “real class” in Rapids’ statement win over LAFC

Djordje Mihailovic shows “real class” in Rapids’ statement win over LAFC

Djordje Mihailovic returned to Major League Soccer this winter with hopes of getting back to his best as an attacking midfielder and despite a quiet opening five matches to the 2024 league campaign, the veteran attacker might have found his spark.

Mihailovic’s two-goal, one assist performance on Saturday helped the Colorado Rapids earn a statement 3-2 home victory over reigning Western Conference champions LAFC. The 25-year-old set up Moise Bambito for Colorado’s first equalizer in the 38th minute before scoring twice in a seven-minute span to seal a comeback result.

“It was a nice display of his quality,” Rapids head coach Chris Armas said postmatch about Mihailovic. “You can see how happy the team is for him, and the fans get to see some high-end quality with some of his attacking plays tonight.”

“The goals that [Mihailovic] scores, some of it’s real class,” he added. “And some of it is just a real will to win.”

With the Rapids chasing a tying goal late in the second half, Mihailovic delivered with a stunning free kick into the top-right corner. It marked his first goal back in MLS following his spell in the Netherlands and have Colorado a lifeline to go and find a winning goal.

Mihailovic delivered once again for Colorado, this time slotting home Kimani Stewart-Baynes’ headed pass into the back of the net with only minutes to play. It was the final contribution in a Man of the Match performance for the U.S. men’s national team midfielder, who became the first Rapids player since 2020 to deliver a two-goal, one assist performance.

“LAFC’s one of the best teams in the West, and if you wanna be one of the best teams, you have to beat them,” Mihailovic said. “We aim for playoffs and these are the types of games that we’re gonna face in playoffs.

“This game it always felt like it was never gonna be done, we were always gonna win,” he added. “So like I said before, a lot of credit to the team because we never gave up.”

The result marked Colorado’s first home win of 2024 and its second overall victory in six league matches this season. After taking points from Nashville SC, Real Salt Lake, and the Seattle Sounders, a win over LAFC should boost Mihailovic and the Rapids nicely for an April 6 road match against Inter Miami.

“I’d like to say this is a good jumping-off point that we can use,” Mihailovic said. “We know next week going to Miami is going to be a challenge as well. So we enjoy this, but we have to move on quick.”

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