Preview: Colorado vs LA Galaxy, July 27
COLORADO RAPIDS vs LA GALAXY
DICK'S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
July 27, 2013 (WEEK 22, MLS Game #201)
5 p.m. MT (ESPN2/ESPN Deportes)
The Colorado Rapids and LA Galaxy meet in a crucial contest for placing in the Western Conference as the clubs face off Saturday afternoon at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The clubs are separated by just two points ñ but four places apart ñ in the division. The Galaxy are in third place following their 2-1 home win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC last weekend, while the Rapids are in sixth place after extending their unbeaten run in a 1-1 draw at Seattle Sounders FC.
REFEREE: Juan Guzman. AR1 (bench): Jeff Hosking; AR2 (opposite): Mark Cahen; 4th: Tyler Ploeger
MLS Career: 30 games; FC/gm: 24.8; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 9; pens: 6
DISABLED LIST: COL: Diego Calderon
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: COL: Shane O'Neill, Hendry Thomas - LA: Marcelo Sarvas
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Dillon Powers, Nathan Sturgis - LA: A.J. DeLaGarza, Juninho
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: LA: Landon Donovan (USA), Omar Gonzalez (USA)
ALL-TIME (60 meetings): Rapids 21 wins (1 shootout), 68 goals - Galaxy 32 wins (2 shootout), 94 goals - Ties 7
AT LA (29 meetings): Rapids 15 wins (0 shootout), 39 goals - Galaxy 10 wins (1 shootout), 34 goals - Ties 5
FUTURE MATCH: 9/7: LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m. PT
* The teams are meeting for the second time this season. A Mike Magee penalty kick in the 50th minute was all the Galaxy needed for a 1-0 victory March 23 in Carson.
* The Galaxy are undefeated against the Rapids over the last two-plus seasons. The Galaxy have won five of the last six encounters between the clubs, with one draw.
* The Rapids last defeated the Galaxy at home in 2008. In the five meetings since at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, LA has won three, with two draws.
* Coaches record: Oscar Pareja vs. LA: P4 W0 L3 D1 - Bruce Arena vs. COL: P22 W16 L5 D3
LAST MEETING (MLS)
3/30: LA 1, COL 0 (Magee 50)
* The turning point came early in the second half, after Colorado defender Drew Moor was ejected for an off-the-ball backhand to Marcelo Sarvas' face inside the penalty area. Mike Magee converted from the spot in the 50th minute for the eventual match-winner.
* Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin was credited with seven saves in his first professional start as the Galaxy held a 21-5 edge in attempts at goal. Galaxy 'keeper Carlo Cudicini made three saves.
* LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Carlo Cudicini - Sean Franklin, Leonardo, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant - Mike Magee, Marcelo Sarvas (Rafael Garcia 84), Juninho, Colin Clark (Hector Jimenez 71) - Jose Villarreal (Michael Stephens 67), Jack McBean.
* COLORADO RAPIDS (4-3-3): Clint Irwin - Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor (sent off 48), Diego Calderon (Christopher Klute 34), Brian Mullan - Pablo Mastroeni (Tony Cascio 27), Dillon Powers, Hendry Thomas - Atiba Harris, Deshorn Brown, Kevin Harbottle (Shane O'Neill 52).
The Colorado Rapids extended their unbeaten run to five games, gaining a 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field. The Rapids are in sixth place in the Western Conference with 31 points from 22 matches.
* Both goals came within a five-minute span midway through the second half. The Rapids took the lead in the 60th minute on a Drew Moor header nearly on the goal line from a corner kick by Nick LaBrocca -- which may well have curled inside the back post.
* But Sounders FC drew level following a wild sequence. Lamar Neagle fired off a shot that rung off the right post. DeAndre Yedlin hit the rebound first time -- only to see it saved by Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin -- before he followed up by heading in the rebound.
* Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made one change to the team that came back for a 2-1 win against the New England Revolution at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Deshorn Brown started up top in place of Edson Buddle.
* COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): Clint Irwin - Marvell Wynne (German Mera 66), Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Christopher Klute - Nathan Sturgis, Hendry Thomas - Atiba Harris, Dillon Powers (Edson Buddle 57), Nick LaBrocca - Deshorn Brown (Anthony Wallace 74).
* The Rapids extended their undefeated run to five games with their first-ever point in Seattle. The Rapids have gone 3-0-2 in the streak.
* "We could walk out with three points for sure and that's a little of the frustration that we have, because I can sense that this group is ambitious now and they know they can win," said Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja. "But at the same time, we walk out with one point against Seattle and a tough atmosphere and I guess a good team as well, so we were happy."
* Marvell Wynne made his second consecutive start after three matches out of the starting lineup, but came out after 66 minutes. German Mera came into central defense in his place, with Shane O'Neill shifting to right back.
* "I think we are all on the same page. It seems like if Shane [O'Neill] is in the middle, if Shane is on the right for [Drew] Moor for [German] Mera who is coming in the games, everybody is on the same page. That connection is important," said Pareja. " - We knew that we would have Marvell probably 65-70 minutes and bring in Mera ... so it's a natural change. Shane knows the position as a right back. We wanted to refresh in the middle."
* Drew Moor scored his second goal of the season, his first coming in a 1-1 draw with Houston on April 28.
* "I think we are just doing a better job of staying concentrated. We all have to be on the same page which I think we have been," Moor said. "We have a healthy competition between the back defenders and when you are training as hard as you can games become that much easier."
* Nick LaBrocca recorded his second assist of the season, his first since April 6. He has a goal and an assist in the last two matches.
* "I am just trying to be aggressive. I just keep looking for opportunities and taking them when I see them," said LaBrocca. "We were just trying to mix it up so that we aren't as predictable. Maybe rush their decisions so that we make our lives in the back a little easier. Try to make it so that they are having to play a 20-yard ball instead of a 10- or 15-yard ball."
* After starting four consecutive matches, Edson Buddle returned to the substitutes' bench and came on for the final half-hour.
* "Just trying to get some fresh legs on [for Atiba Harris] who played just 45 minutes in the past game. And Edson, we knew what he could give us, and I think he had an opportunity in the second half to give us the three points, so the plan worked well," said Pareja.
The LA Galaxy returned to their winning ways, coming back for a 2-1 victory against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday evening at StubHub Center. The Galaxy are in third place in the Western Conference with 33 points from 20 matches.
* Whitecaps FC opened the scoring in the 19th minute. From the right flank, Lee Young-Pyo sent a sharp diagonal ball toward the middle that Russell Teibert redirected beyond LA's backline and into space. Camilo took it alone to the box and slotted past Carlo Cudicini.
* The Galaxy were even 10 minutes later. Gonzalez headed Juninho's free kick into the goalmouth, it barely cleared the head of Gyasi Zardes' head and Jose Villarreal poked it home. The assistant referee's flag went up for offside, but the goal was allowed by referee Chris Penso as Zardes did not play the ball.
* The winner came 12 minutes into the second half. A long ball from Todd Dunivant found Zardes streaking behind the Whitecaps' defense, and he caught up with the ball at the left byeline. Zardes stepped around a defender then beat Vancouver goalkeeper Brad Knighton at the near post from a tight angle.
* Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made two changes to the team that took a late 2-1 victory against the the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field. Pablo Mastroeni came into the midfield for Robbie Rogers, and Jose Villarreal replaced Robbie Keane up top.
* LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Carlo Cudicini - Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant - Hector Jimenez, Pablo Mastroeni (Rafael Garcia 78), Juninho, Marcelo Sarvas (Michael Stephens 70) - Jose Villarreal (Laurent Courtois 86), Gyasi Zardes.
* The Galaxy won their third consecutive game at StubHub Center and won for the fourth time in their last six matches, following a three-game winless skid.
* "Last week - Portland had very few chances in the game; however we concede the goal at the end of the game and concede the goal off a freekick in the first half," said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. "We probably played better defensively last Saturday and then as we backtrack over the last five or six games, I think we've been excellent in the defensive end of the field."
* Said midfielder Marcelo Sarvas: "I think this has been many games, we are playing this way. Even the games that we lost have been in this way. The difference is always one goal. The important thing is the team reacted good from [the previous weekend's loss at Portland] and we created chances. The team is playing good. That is more important."
* When Jose Villarreal and Gyasi Zardes both scored against Vancouver, it was the first time in MLS history a pair of Homegrown Players scored in the same game.
* I think Gyasi [Zardes] and Jose [Villarreal] did a fantastic job putting a lot of pressure on their defenders, making it hard for them to play it out of the back, also holding up balls, turning and going at guys," said defender Omar Gonzalez. "Gyasi's goal was great, he really did well to calm down, take the guy on, beat him, and then slap that ball near post, or however he did it."
* Villarreal was making his first start since June 8, with Robbie Keane kept out of the lineup with a hip flexor injury.
* "I'm not trying to compare myself to Robbie [Keane], I'm just trying to do what I can to help the team. If it means doing a lot more defensive work, then that's what I have to do, and that's what I have to improve on," Villarreal said. Added Zardes: "It's wonderful partnering up with Jose. I know we're both young, but we've learned a lot from Robbie [Keane] and Landon [Donovan]. It's just great to be a part of this team with a young guy that I grew up with."
* Pablo Mastroeni also made his first start since coming to the Galaxy from Colorado, after coming off the substitutes' bench in his first four LA appearances.
* Marcelo Sarvas moved to a wide left midfield role after Robbie Rogers was available after suffering a hamstring strain, following six consecutive starts.
* "That was an important game for the team," goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini said. "No Landon, no Robbie, and it was important for the kids up front to show that they can help us out, and that's what happened tonight. Two good goals, and it's good for the confidence. At the end of the day, we need everyone."