Colorado Rapids vs. LA Galaxy | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Colorado Rapids vs. LA Galaxy
2017 MLS Regular Season
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Commerce City, Colorado
Wednesday, June 21 – 9:00 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE
Maybe Pablo Mastroeni was on to something after all.
The Colorado Rapids head coach made headlines a few weeks ago when he went on a memorable rant about the importance of analytics in soccer, telling reporters after his team’s 1-0 win against Sporting KC on May 27 – a match in which they were out-possessed and outshot by wide margins – that “stats will lose to the human spirit every day.”
Predictably, Mastroeni’s comments drew a good deal of criticism from the more “enlightened” MLS observers. So far, however, his team is backing his talk. Starting with the win against SKC, Colorado have won three straight in MLS and four consecutive in all competitions. They’re doing it in dramatic fashion, too, with Alan Gordon – once a Goonie, always a Goonie? – scoring late winners in back-to-back matches to give the Rapids victories over Columbus and Portland.
“It always shows. If you’re a team that comes back, it show character, always,” Gordon, who moved to Colorado from the LA Galaxy this winter, said after Saturday’s match. “It’s something that I knew this team had. I played against this team last year and they were fighters. They were a solid group and they fought for each other. That was attractive to me.”
Colorado aren’t the only team with a flair for the dramatic, however. LA stayed true to their Hollywood roots on Saturday, breaking Houston’s hearts with a late goal to draw the Houston Dynamo 2-2 at StubHub Center. A home draw wasn’t an ideal result for the Galaxy, but with star attacker Giovani dos Santos in Russia with Mexico for the Confederations Cup and captain Jelle Van Damme suspended, head coach Curt Onalfo was more than happy to take the point.
“Earlier in the year, we had similar cases at home where we had the chances at the end and we didn’t convert,” Onalfo said. “We’ve become a team, and we find ways to make things happen. I’m pleased we got the point. I wanted three, but under the circumstances we’ll take one.”
Gordon grabbed the headlines, but a different first-year Rapid had an equally big impact in Colorado’s win against Portland. Midfielder Mohammed Saeid, acquired at the end of March in trade with Minnesota, was very solid against the Timbers, moving into a central position early in the second half, shoring up the Rapids’ midfield and assisting on Gordon’s game-winner.
“He’s done a really great job at connecting passes and helping us catch our breath with the ball,” Mastroeni said of Saied on Saturday. “In the right moment, he’s able to play forward and change his pace, start the attack from deep positions, but really get higher up the field. He set Gordo up on that second goal and he’s been a really instrumental player for our group. He’s just an all-around fantastic footballer.”
Part of the reason Colorado shipped defensive midfielder Sam Cronin to MNUFC in exchange for Saeid was to tilt their shape further forward. They didn’t have a ton of success with that in the immediate aftermath of the trade, but the Swede has played a big role in recent weeks, recording assists in each of their last two matches. He’ll need to be good again for the Rapids to extend their winning streak to four on Wednesday night.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – Bismark Adjei-Boateng (back injury), D Bobby Burling (foot injury); QUESTIONABLE – M Shkelzen Gashi (hamstring injury)
Projected Starting XI (4-4-2): Tim Howard – Marlon Hairston, Kortne Ford, Axel Sjoberg, Mike da Fonte – Mohammed Saeid, Dillon Powers, Micheal Azira, Shkelzen Gashi – Kevin Doyle, Dominique Badji
Another match, another star turn for LA Galaxy newcomer Romain Alessandrini. The former Marseille man was at it again against Houston on Saturday night, slipping Emmanuel Boateng behind the Dynamo defense for LA’s opener before – controversially, it should be noted – getting on the end of a Bradford Jamieson IV cross to tap home a 94th-minute equalizer.
The one-goal, one-assist performance was the latest excellent showing in what’s become a dazzling first year in MLS for the Frenchman, who now has seven goals and seven assists in just 14 regular-season games. With dos Santos still off on international duty, he’ll be counted on again to create for the Galaxy on Wednesday night, assuming Onalfo doesn’t rotate him out of the lineup ahead of Saturday’s home match against SKC.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: Giovani dos Santos (Mexico, Confederations Cup)
- Injury Report: OUT – GK Brian Rowe (groin injury), D Robbie Rogers (ankle injury), M Sebastian Lletget (foot surgery), M Baggio Husidic (fractured fibula); QUESTIONABLE – M Jermaine Jones (MCL sprain), D Daniel Steres (hamstring)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Clement Diop – Nathan Smith, Dave Romney, Jelle Van Damme, Ashley Cole – Rafa Garcia, Joao Pedro – Emmanuel Boateng, Romain Alessandrini, Gyasi Zardes – Jack McInerney
- Overall: Colorado 25 wins (79 goals), LA 35 wins (109 goals), 10 draws
- At Colorado: Colorado 18 wins (47 goals), LA 12 wins (41 goals), 5 draws
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistant Referees: Kermit Quisenberry, Andrew Bigelow
Fourth Official: Younes Marrakchi