Colorado Rapids vs. LA Galaxy | MLS Match Preview

Rapids host LA Galaxy in midweek match, looking to put an end to recent slide

COLORADO RAPIDS vs LA GALAXY
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
Aug. 20, 2014 (WEEK 24, MLS Game #220)
7 p.m. MT (Altitude)

Two teams looking to push aside difficult losses last weekend meet midweek when the Colorado Rapids entertain the LA Galaxy on Wednesday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids have lost four games on the trot, following their 4-2 defeat at D.C. United on Sunday evening. The Galaxy opened their road swing by seeing a three-game undefeated run come to a crashing halt in a 4-1 loss at the Columbus Crew.

REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar.
MLS Career: 190 games; FC/gm: 26.8; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 56; pens: 68

AR1 (bench): Ian Anderson
AR2 (opposite): Chris Strickland
4th: Daniel Radford

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: COL: Nick LaBrocca
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Carlos Alvarez … LA: Landon Donovan, Dan Gargan, Alan Gordon
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (63 meetings): Rapids 24 wins (1 shootout), 72 goals … Galaxy 32 wins (2 shootout), 94 goals … Ties 7
AT COLORADO (32 meetings): Rapids 17 wins (0 shootout), 42 goals …Galaxy 10 wins (1 shootout), 34 goals …Ties 5
NEXT MEETING: 9/5: LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids, 8:30 p.m. MT

2014 (MLS)
5/3: COL 1, LA 0 (Sanchez 20')

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Vicente Sánchez scored the game’s lone goal as the Rapids took the victory May 3 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • The Rapids have won last three meetings between the teams, ending a six-game winless streak over the previous two-plus seasons. Colorado’s previous win vs. the Galaxy had come in 2010.
  • Coaches record: Bruce Arena vs. COL: P25 W17 L7 D3 … Pablo Mastroeni vs. LA: P1 W1 L0 D0

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • The game's lone goal came in the 20th minute. Off a partially cleared corner, Vicente Sánchez chipped a ball from inside the penalty area on the right that appeared to be a pass headed toward defender Drew Moor – but it lofted over goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and into the top corner of the goal.
  • The Galaxy had a glorious opportunity just after the hour mark. Moor was deemed to have caught Galaxy striker Rob Friend -- and referee Hilario Grajeda immediately pointed to the penalty spot. But Robbie Keane pushed the the ensuing spot kick just wide of goal in the 63rd minute.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Clint Irwin - Chris Klute, Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Marc Burch – Marlon Hairston (Charles Eloundou 55), Jose Mari, Nick LaBrocca, Dillon Serna - Deshorn Brown, Vicente Sánchez (Edson Buddle 46).
  • LA GALAXY (4-3-1-2): Jaime Penedo - Dan Gargan, Omar Gonzalez (Kofi Opare 46), Leonardo, A.J. DeLaGarza - Landon Donovan, Juninho, Baggio Husidic - Stefan Ishizaki (Gyasi Zardes 70) - Rob Friend(Samuel 76), Robbie Keane.

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids suffered their fourth consecutive loss, falling 4-2 to D.C. United on Sunday evening at RFK Stadium. The Rapids are in seventh place in the Western Conference with 30 points from 24 games.
LAST MATCH

  • United took the lead just 12 minutes in. Left back Taylor Kemp played a lovely through ball with the outside of his right foot to a streaking Luis Silva, who cut back before chipping his effort over the outstretched arms of Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin.
  • The Rapids were level, though, in the 52nd minute through a stunning goal. Colorado midfielder-turned-defender Jared Watts headed a clearance toward Dillon Serna, who struck an absolutely spectacular volley up and over United goalkeeper Bill Hamid from all of 30 yards out.
  • But United regained the lead in the 67th minute when Sean Franklin collected a loose ball outside the area, finding Silva just outside the six, and he slotted the ball into the side netting at the far post.
  • United made it 3-1 in the 81st minute when Kemp embarked on a 40-yard run on the left sideline before driving a low cross to Chris Rolfe, who guided a low attempt home from the edge of the box. Just five minutes later, Fabian Espindola got United’s fourth, smashing home a David Estrada pass from 17 yards out in the heart of the box.
  • Colorado pulled a goal back in stoppage time when Deshorn Brown headed home at the goal line on a Dillon Powers ball looped over Hamid, but it was too little, too late.
  • Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni made one change to the team that dropped a 3-1 decision to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium. Dillon Serna came into the midfield in place of Carlos Alvarez.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-1-1): Clint Irwin - Chris Klute, Drew Moor (Jared Watts 14), Marvell Wynne, Marc Burch - Vicente Sanchez (Carlos Alvarez 59), Nick LaBrocca, Jose Mari, Dillon Serna (Gabriel Torres 73) - Dillon Powers - Deshorn Brown.

TEAM NEWS

  • The loss at D.C. United stretched the Rapids losing slide to four games, the club’s longest since July 4-28, 2012, when they lost a club-record six in a row. They have won just once since the start of July.
  • “At this moment I think confidence is low. Especially when you are conceding the way we are, you begin to anticipate that and I think lack of confidence is an issue. The only way in life to find that is to sit with yourself and be quiet,” said Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni. “You can’t instill that in people, that comes from within. Like I said, we found our way into this and it’s about character to find our way out.”
  • The Rapids allowed four goals for a second time this season, also conceding four in a 4-1 loss to Seattle on April 26. They have allowed three or more goals in three of the last four games.
  • “All the little things that helped us to get some results early in the year, we need that back. It has nothing to do with tactics and technique, it has to do with a spirit and going out there and accomplishing something,” said Mastroeni. “Again that comes from within, and we have a quick turnaround so that’s what we anticipate for Wednesday.”
  • The Rapids have also allowed five goals in the opening quarter-hour of the match during the skid, conceding the opener after 12 minutes vs. D.C. United. The Rapids had not allowed a goal in the opening 15 minutes before the New England loss on July 30.
  • “We were good for about 12 to 13 minutes and we give up a soft goal. Bad giveaway, bad defending, but to be fair it was a good finish, and now we are chasing the game again,” said Mastroeni. “This is a position we have found ourselves in the last couple games. We find a way back in to the game and then a calamity of errors in the back, all through the midfield and up front. Defensively we were just not sharp and at this level, and with the kind of players these guys have, they punched us.”
  • Deshorn Brown scored his eighth goal of the season, his first since July 18 when he netted at Portland. Brown had 10 goals in 31 appearances in his rookie season a year ago; the last Rapids player to score double-digits in goals in back-to-back seasons was Conor Casey in 2008 (11) and 2009 (16).
  • There was a serious injury blow for the Rapids as center back Drew Moor was forced off just after the opening goal with a right knee sprain. Moor has missed just one match all season, the May 11 game vs. Chivas USA. With Moor off the field, rookie Jared Watts came into central defense. Watts has started in the midfield in each of his 10 league starts this season.
  • “It’s unfortunate to see our captain go out with an injury. I just wanted to go in and play to the best of my ability,” Watts said. “I played a little center back in college and I wanted to do simple things like win 50-50 balls, and communicate, organize and try to get things locked up in the back.”

LA GALAXY
The LA Galaxy saw their undefeated run come to an end after three games, falling 4-1 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Galaxy sit in fourth place in the Western Conference with 34 points from 21 games.
LAST MATCH

  • The Crew took the lead in the 23rd minute with a real golazo. After gathering a pass from Tony Tchani near the top of the penalty box, Justin Meram spun in a circle to avoid two Galaxy defenders and unleashed a curling blast into the top corner past Galaxy 'keeper Jaime Penedo.
  • The Crew added another in the 33rd minute. This time Meram played provider, first feigning a shot as he neared the top of the box before played a perfectly weighted through ball to a slashing Ethan Finlay, whose shot off the underside of the crossbar left Penedo no chance.
  • The Galaxy got a goal shortly after the halftime break when Dan Gargan’s cross from the right wing landed perfectly on the foot of Gyasi Zardes, and he showed great technique to side volley the cross first time low into the corner past a diving Steve Clark in the Crew goal.
  • But the Crew put the game away with two goals in the final quarter hour. First Ben Speas finished off a counterattack, hammering home a Finlay pass in the heart of the penalty area to make it 3-1. Giancarlo Gonzalez provided the final scoreline when he headed home a Federico Higuain corner kick six minutes from the end.
  • Galaxy coach Bruce Arena made no changes to his team for a third consecutive week, maintaining the group that came back for a 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes at StubHub Center.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Jaime Penedo - Dan Gargan (Todd Dunivant 85), Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Robbie Rogers (Baggio Husidic 64) - Stefan Ishizaki (Alan Gordon 70), Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Landon Donovan - Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Galaxy conceded a season-high four goals in the defeat in Columbus. They had not allowed more than two goals in any league game all season nor in all competitions since a 5-2 defeat at Tijuana of Mexico in the CONCACAF Champions League on March 18.
  • “They thoroughly outplayed us,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “Our passing on the night was poor, finishing was poor. ... A lot of the basics, we got beat on tonight. Give them credit. ... These things happen. Every team has a bad game, and this is certainly a bad game.”
  • “As a starting point, we have to compete better,” Landon Donovan said. “If you don’t compete in this league, you don’t give yourself a chance to win. And, secondly, I think we didn’t do a good job figuring out the way they were playing and giving ourselves a chance to get around the ball and put them under pressure. We did it for a stretch at the beginning of the second half, where we did a better job, but we couldn’t sustain it, and that ended up being the difference.”
  • Gyasi Zardes scored for a fourth consecutive game, and now has 10 goals on the season. He has scored nine goals in the last 10 games, from June 8, since being installed into the starting striker role.
  • “It’s my teammates, definitely. It’s not just me. It’s the whole combination of play and when we combine I just make that hard run into the box and my teammates just put it right there on my foot and I just put it on frame,” said Zardes.
  • Robbie Keane recorded his eighth assist of the season, seven of which have come in the last 11 games. Over that time he has six goals and eight assists, playing a part in 14 of the Galaxy’s 25 goals in that stretch.
  • “Bad performance all around,” Keane said. “I think they were the better team. They controlled most of the game ... and they never really looked like they were going to lose.”
  • There was an injury concern as Robbie Rogers was forced from the field at the three-quarter mark of the match. Rogers was making his fourth consecutive start after missing two games to injury; he’s started eight of the last 10 games at left back.
  • “In the second half I couldn’t play anymore. I couldn’t move. It’s kind of why I was just sitting back. I had to go out,” said Rogers. “I tried to play through that injury. It was affecting too much of the way I was playing. I couldn’t cover ground so I had to take myself out, unfortunately.”