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LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids | MLS Match Preview

LA GALAXY vs COLORADO RAPIDS
STUBHUB CENTER, Carson, Calif.
Sept. 5, 2014 (WEEK 26, MLS Game #244) 7:30 p.m. PT (NBCSN, stream on NBCSports.com; TSN2)

Two teams heading in opposite directions in recent weeks meet when the LA Galaxy play host to the Colorado Rapids on Friday evening at StubHub Center before an NBC Sports Network audience. The Galaxy have won four games on the trot, after their 3-0 win against in-stadium rivals Chivas USA last weekend, and now sit in second place in the Western Conference. The Rapids suffered their sixth consecutive defeat last weekend, in a 1-0 loss at Seattle Sounders FC, and now find themselves four points out of the last playoff position in the division.

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REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. SAR (bench): Fabio Tovar; JAR (opposite): Baboucarr Jallow; 4th: Juan Guzman
MLS Career: 180 games; FC/gm: 25.2; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 62; pens: 66

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: LA: Dan Gargan, Landon Donovan … COL: Nick LaBrocca
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: LA: A.J. DeLaGarza, Alan Gordon, Marcelo Sarvas … COL: Carlos Alvarez, Thomas Piermayr
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: LA: Jaime Penedo (Panama, Copa Centroamericana); Robbie Keane (Ireland, 9/3 v Oman; 9/7 v Georgia); Bradford Jamieson IV (U.S. U-20)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (64 meetings): Galaxy 33 wins (2 shootout), 98 goals … Rapids 24 wins (1 shootout), 75 goals … Ties 7
AT LA (31 meetings): Galaxy 22 wins (1 shootout), 60 goals … Rapids 7 wins (1 shootout), 30 goals …Ties 2
2014 (MLS)
5/3: COL 1, LA 0 (Sanchez 20)
8/20: COL 3, LA 4 (Hairston 14; Buddle 17; Burch 30 – Keane 20; Gonzalez 55; Gordon 68; Donovan 80)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Second-half goals from Alan Gordon, Omar Gonzalez and Landon Donovan brought the Galaxy back from a two-goal deficit for a 4-3 victory Aug. 20 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Vicente Sánchez scored the game’s lone goal in the Rapids’ home victory May 3.
  • The Galaxy win in the last meeting ended a three-game Rapids winning streak in the series, which had put an end to a six-game winless streak over the previous two-plus seasons.
  • Coaches record: Bruce Arena vs. COL: P26 W18 L7 D3 … Pablo Mastroeni vs. LA: P2 W1 L1 D0

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • The Rapids were two goals ahead inside of 17 minutes. A long ball from Edson Buddle picked out striker Deshorn Brown inside the box, and his initial shot was saved with a terrific stop from Jaime Penedo. But Marlon Hairston was first to the rebound, drilling it home from a tough angle.
  • Just three minutes later the score was 2-0, when Buddle scored his 100th career league goal, headed home perfectly from a corner kick at the top of the six-yard box.
  • But the Galaxy pulled one back just three minutes later, when Robbie Keane sent a looping header from a Dan Gargan cross back inside the right-hand post, eluding Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin.
  • Yet the margin was restored on the half hour. Fullback Marc Burch drilled a freekick from 25 yards out that banged it off the bottom of the crossbar and in off the goalkeeper's back to make it 3-1.
  • The Galaxy stormed back after the break. First, in the 55th minute, Landon Donovan put a freekick service straight onto the head of a charging Omar Gonzalez, and he made no mistake with his close-range header.
  • Alan Gordon turned home a shot from inside the area in the 68th minute to level the score at 3-3. Then, in the 80th minute, Keane sprung Donovan with a through ball up the center of the park, and Donovan used a terrific run and classy finish to round Irwin and slot home the match-winner.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Clint Irwin - Christopher Klute, Jared Watts (Grant Van De Casteele 61), Marvell Wynne, Marc Burch - Marlon Hairston (Gabriel Torres 77), Jose Mari, Nick LaBrocca, Dillon Powers - Edson Buddle (Vicente Sanchez 63), Deshorn Brown.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Jaime Penedo - Dan Gargan, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant (A.J. DeLaGarza 78) - Stefan Ishizaki (Alan Gordon 65), Marcelo Sarvas, Baggio Husidic (Juninho 74), Landon Donovan - Gyasi Zardes, Robbie Keane.

LA GALAXY
The LA Galaxy extended their winning streak to four matches with another impressive performance, this time a comprehensive 3-0 win against Chivas USA on Sunday afternoon at StubHub Center. The Galaxy sit in second place in the Western Conference with 46 points from 25 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Galaxy took the lead in the 41st minute. Sprinting forward out of the midfield on the left, Landon Donovan laid a pass for Gyasi Zardes in the left side of the area to hammer home a first-time shot inside the far post past goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
  • The lead was doubled in the 65th minute through sheer magic. After nutmegging center back Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Robbie Keane looked up and put a sublime chip over Kennedy from well beyond the penalty area. The strike earned some bows from Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena on the sideline.
  • The rout was complete six minutes following a dizzying give-and-go between Keane and Donovan all around the Chivas penalty area, with Zardes finishing off the 10-pass build-up by tapping home with the simplest of finishes into an empty net.
  • Chivas USA finished a man down when forward Erick Torres earned a straight red card in the 75th minute for a studs-up tackle on Baggio Husidic.
  • Galaxy coach Bruce Arena made two changes to the team that rolled to a 4-1 win against D.C. United at StubHub Center. Dan Gargan and Robbie Rogers came in at fullback for A.J. DeLaGarza and Todd Dunivant.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Jaime Penedo - Dan Gargan, Leonardo, Omar Gonzalez, Robbie Rogers - Baggio Husidic, Marcelo Sarvas (Rafael Garcia 74), Juninho, Landon Donovan (Chandler Hoffman 82) - Alan Gordon (Robbie Keane 59), Gyasi Zardes.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Galaxy won their fourth consecutive game with the SuperClásico victory, matching the club’s longest winning streak over the past five seasons. The club record is 15 consecutive wins set over the end of the 1997 season and start of 1998; the longest since the end of the shootout era has been five games, done twice.
  • “There are teams around the world that play absolutely to the best of their ability and they can’t win. That’s just how it is in different parts of the world. This week I feel like if we play to the best of our ability, we have a really good chance of winning. That’s all that comes down to,” said Landon Donovan. “It comes down to anything else but that if we have the attitude and the effort and the commitment from the guys doing that, we have a really good chance to win, and we know it. So we have to do it.”
  • The Galaxy scored multiple goals for a fourth time during the winning streak, with 13 goals over the four-game run. They have scored 28 goals over their last 10 games, since a 5-1 defeat of New England on July 16; the Galaxy have scored 48 goals this season, an average of 1.92 per game, leading MLS.
  • Gyasi Zardes scored two goals in a game for the second time this season, his first goals since netting in the 4-1 loss to Columbus on Aug. 16. Zardes has 11 of his 12 goals this season over the last 14 games.
  • “He obviously played really well,” Arena said. “The first goal was a big goal in this game. Chivas USA played very well in the first half. They were tough to break down. Kennedy was difficult to beat. To get that goal at the end of the half was a big advantage, not only on the scoreboard but psychologically as well.”
  • Donovan recorded a pair of assists, and now has 12 for the season, tied for the MLS lead with Robbie Keane. Donovan has 129 career league assists, now six away from the all-time record held by Steve Ralston.
  • “I would love to give him that record. He’s a phenomenal player,” said Zardes. “We’re talking about Landon Donovan; he helped set me up for two goals. So I would love to help him break that record. I hope he keeps breaking as many records as he can before he departs.”
  • Added Keane: “You want the players that you play with to get as many as they can. So I’m sure with the amount of games, hopefully [Donovan] can certainly get close to that, if not beat it. Since I’ve come back, that’s what he has been doing. Together we have been creating a lot of chances for each other. So as a team we just have to continue to play the way that we have been playing.”
  • Robbie Keane scored his 14th goal of the season, his first since Aug. 20 when he scored against Colorado. Keane is now tied for third place in the MLS Golden Boot standings, while also tied atop the assist leaderboard after collecting his 12th assist of the season. It was the seventh time this season he’s been involved with more than one goal in a game.
  • “I was just admiring [the goal] like everybody else in the stadium,” Donovan said. “A few guys were making runs, but a few of us were probably tired and hanging back, and when you see a goal like that, it’s pretty special. It doesn’t happen often, and I’m not sure there’s many guys in this league that can score a goal like that, not many guys in the world. You just admire it, you shake his hand, and you hope he does it again.”
  • Robbie Rogers returned to his left back spot for the first time from the start since Aug. 16, while Dan Gargan returned to right back following a one-match absence.
  • Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo will miss his first game since April 6, when he does not play vs. Colorado while on international duty with Panama for the Copa Centroamericana. Keane will also miss the match while away with the Republic of Ireland, who kick off EURO 2014 qualifying.
  • “You make slight adjustments to your team. We’ve been preparing for this. Robbie [Keane] didn’t play in the D.C United game on Wednesday, he missed 60 minutes tonight, so we’ve played without him. We have some good options in the goal. This is all part of it,” said Arena. “When the league plays on the international fixture dates, there are going to be occasions where you lose some players, and others have to step up. That will be the case.”

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids saw their losing slide extended to six matches, falling 1-0 to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday at CenturyLink Field. The Rapids are in seventh place in the Western Conference with 30 points from 26 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone goal came in the 52nd minute, and it was a special one. Clint Dempsey swooped in and smashed a Marco Pappa corner kick into the top-right corner from a full volley at the back post, past MLS debutant Joe Nasco in the Rapids goal.
  • Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei was called upon to make two saves in keeping the clean sheet.
  • Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni made three changes to the team that lost 4-3 to the LA Galaxy at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Joe Nasco started between the posts in place of Clint Irwin, Thomas Piermayr came into the back four for Jared Watts, and Dillon Serna came into the midfield for Jose Mari.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Joe Nasco - Christopher Klute, Thomas Piermayr, Marvell Wynne, Marc Burch - Marlon Hairston (Gabriel Torres 60), Dillon Powers, Nick LaBrocca, Dillon Serna (Charles Eloundou 79) - Edson Buddle, Deshorn Brown.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Rapids lost their sixth consecutive game in the defeat at Seattle. It matches the club record set twice previously, in 1997 and 2012.
  • “The attitude was right for playing in such a difficult place against a team in good form. The silver lining is what I have been living on the last couple of matches,” said Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni. “We are seeing steady improvements from such a young team, but at the moment we are making it difficult for ourselves to stay afloat in the playoff race.”
  • Said midfielder Dillon Powers: “It's hard not to get hung up on results as you keep losing. The challenging part for me and for the staff is to keep to the focus on the crosses and how we're playing and just trying to get better each game. I think we have done a good job at that. Internally we feel like we are still growing as a team-we are playing some good soccer – and the results haven't come up.”
  • 30-year-old Joe Nasco made his MLS and Rapids debut in the match, making the start between the posts. A former police officer, Nasco had played with the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks.
  • “Really it was just to give Irwin a break. I think anytime you are conceding that many goals as a team, it plays on a player's psyche – much like a forward that just can't find the back of the net after so many games. It was a good opportunity to give Nasco some time,” said Mastroeni.
  • After conceding 11 goals in the previous three matches, the Rapids did allow just a single goal in the loss. They have given up 16 goals over the six-game losing skid.
  • “I think we are much more solid defensively as a team. The guys had some great counterattacks that came from a good defensive positioning. More than anything everyone was just in more in tune to little moments during the run of play,” said Mastroeni. “To get beat on a set piece is really disheartening. Set pieces are opportunities where you can get your defense set up and never should be beaten so easily on a set piece. Experience hurts, but you have got to get dragged through it.”
  • Said defender Marc Burch: “It's frustrating to let the team down, but as a team, only letting in one goal in the run we've been in from a set piece and not in the run of play, Joe (Nasco) played well and we had a lot of blocked shots. Again, I thought we played well, and I let the team down on one play.”
  • The Rapids were also shut out at the attacking end for the third time in the six-game run. They had been shutout three times total in their first 20 league matches.
  • “This game is all about the next one. I think we've made some vast improvements defensively compared to any of the previous matches. It's a process. It is steady improvements of good attacking with good defensive posture that's going to enable us to get a result in every place. Every place and point moving forward is going to be difficult,” said Mastroeni.
  • With rookie Jared Watts injured after having made his first start in central defense the week before, Thomas Piermayr was able to return to the lineup for the first time since July 30. Primarily a fullback, Piermayr came in as a center back alongside Marvell Wynne.
  • “He played center back in a reserve game last week and played well. I thought his composure in the back and ability to read plays as well as organize back there looked good during the week. I thought he did a good job keeping Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins quiet for the most part,” said Mastroeni.
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Current Form

LA Galaxy
D
L
W
W
W
W
Colorado
L
L
L
L
L
L

Season Stats

LA GalaxyColorado Rapids
25Games Played26
13Wins8
5Losses12
7Draws6
48Goals37
27Goals Conceded40
308Shots288
150Shots on Target129
267Fouls committed289
275Fouls suffered268
38Offside69
131Corners144

Goals Scored

01234+TotalAvg
LA39544481.9
COL69641371.4
01234+Avg
LA134132.2
COL333311.7
01234+Avg
LA261311.6
COL363101.2

Goals Conceded

01234+TotalAvg
LA712411271.1
COL96263401.5
01234+Avg
LA372000.9
COL730211.0
01234+Avg
LA452111.2
COL232422.1
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