Rapids Come Up Short In 3-2 Loss to Los Angeles

CARSON CA (Saturday June 7 2008) – In a battle for the top spot in the Western Conference the Colorado Rapids dropped a 3-2 decision to the Los Angeles Galaxy Saturday night at The Home Depot Center.
(To watch video highlights from the match click here).
Los Angeles entered the match as MLS’s highest-scoring club and built a 3-0 lead before the Rapids battled back with goals in the second half from Colin Clark and Herculez Gomez. With the victory L.A. even the regular season series with Colorado and move into first place in the West two points ahead of the Rapids.
The match could not have started any worse for the visiting team. Just four minutes into the contest Los Angeles was given a free kick from 25 yards out which David Beckham played into the box. Unable to clear the ball away cleanly the Rapids defenders watched as the Galaxy’s Alvaro Pires knocked in his first career goal and the match’s opening score.
Colorado’s scoring chances were limited throughout the first 45 minutes of play. The Rapids’ best early opportunities came on several corner kicks from Christian Gomez over a two minute span at the half’s mid-point.
The Galaxy built their advantage to 2-0 in the 32nd minute when Edson Buddle took a ball played over the Rapids’ defense from Abel Xavier and struck a far post shot past Preston Burpo.
Burpo would come up with two diving saves in the match’s next five minutes to hold the Los Angeles lead to two at the break.
Both teams would finish the half and the game a man down as in the 44th minute the Galaxy’s Alan Gordon received a red card for violent conduct for kicking Facundo Erpen while he was lying on the ground. While the play’s aftermath was being settled and upon review from the sideline official the referee issued a second red card this one to Erpen in the 45th minute for violent conduct on the play as well.
The second half started as disastrous for the Rapids as the first when just four minutes again into play Los Angeles found the net for a third time. Off of assists from Buddle and Peter Vagenas Ely Allen carried the ball 20 yards and placed a shot past Burpo for his first MLS career goal.
Colorado had their best shot of the game thus far in the 54th minute off the right foot of Tom McManus when on a cut back move he fired a shot from 18 yards out that ricocheted off the crossbar.
In the 55th minute Ugo Ihelemu made a huge defensive play as Buddle took a Beckham chip into space that looked like it would lead to a one-on-one with the ‘keeper. Ihemelu sprinted back and made a perfectly executed tackle to stop the shot.
Clark knocked home his second goal of the season in the 72nd minute and cut the L.A. lead to 3-1. Receiving a pass from Omar Cummings Clark was able to find enough space in the box to juke Xavier badly enough to fall on his backside and slotted the ball into the net to put the Rapids on the board.
Colorado increased their offensive pressure over the next several minutes and came away with another score. Coming into the game minutes earlier Herculez Gomez punched in Colorado’s second goal from a few yards out in the 82nd minute off of his own rebound as the Galaxy defense could not clear the ball.
Despite a hard-fought effort throughout the remainder of the match and five minutes of added time the Rapids were unable to earn their first draw of the season or string together consecutive wins.
Next week Colorado travel for their second straight road match when they head to BMO Field to face Toronto FC on Saturday June 14 at 5:00 pm MT.
Scoring Summary:
LA- Pires (unassisted) 4
LA- Buddle (Xavier) 32
LA- Allen (Vagenas Buddle) 50
COL- Clark (Cummings) 72
COL- H. Gomez (unassisted) 82
Lineups:
Colorado Rapids – Preston Burpo Ugo Ihemelu Rafael Gomes (Herculez Gomez 77) Facundo Erpen Jordan Harvey Nick LaBrocca Jacob Peterson (Medhi Ballouchy 45) Christian Gomez Colin Clark Tom McManus Conor Casey (Omar Cummings 60)
Substitutes not used: Terry Cooke Chris Sharpe Stephen Keel Kosuke Kimura
Los Angeles Galaxy – Steve Cronin Chris Klein Sean Franklin Abel Xavier Mike Randolph David Beckham Alvaro Pires Peter Vagenas (Ante Jazic 68) Ely Allen (Joe Franchino 65) Edson Buddle (Carlos Ruiz 59) Alan Gordon
Substitutes Not Used: Josh Wicks Brandon McDonald Troy Roberts Greg Vanney
Misconduct Summary:
COL- C. Gomez (caution - Dissent) 33
LA- Gordon (ejection - Violent Conduct) 44
COL- Erpen (ejection - Violent Conduct) 45
COL- Burpo (caution - Reckless Foul) 56
Referee: Kevin Scott
Referees Assts.: Chris Strickland Michael Salyers
Fourth Official: Shane St. Moody
Attendance: 25129