With a 95th minute left-footed strike, Marco Pappa gave the Rapids a thrilling 1-0 victory in their 2016 Home Opener at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
The former Sounders FC playmaker came on for Dominique Badji with just over 30 minutes to go but he left it until the final play of the match when he volleyed home a loose ball from 12 yards out.
The Galaxy’s best chance of the game came in the first half, when defender Jelle Van Damme was picked out by Steven Gerrard’s free kick. The Belgian center back hit the crossbar before Zac MacMath was able to corral the ball inside the six-yard box. For the second week in a row, the Rapids outshot their opponent – this time, 13 to 8 with 8 shots on goal to the Galaxy’s one.
The Rapids were able to bounce back after a narrow 1-0 loss at the hands of the San Jose Earthquakes last weekend and are 1-1-0 to start the season. The Galaxy also have a 1-1-0 record after a 4-1 come-from-behind victory at home against D.C. United in their first game of the season.
In their first game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the Rapids came out in their traditional 4-2-3-1 formation with two changes to the starting lineup from last weekend’s loss at San Jose. Veteran Marc Burch got his first 90 minutes at left back, while Trinidad & Tobago international Mekeil Williams made his Rapids and MLS debut at right back.
Homegrown Dillon Serna also got his first minutes of the season when he came on for Gashi in the 83rd minute.
Although the Rapids were in control for much of the first half, the visitors were the ones to create the first clear chance of the match inside the 10-minute mark.
Robbie Rogers got the ball on the left side after a quick free kick was taken in Rapids territory. The defender beat his man and after cutting inside, sent a cross that found Robbie Keane wide open in the box. The Rapids were relieved as the Irishmen sent his header just wide of the mark.
Both sides struggled to create opportunities but once again, it was the Galaxy knocking on the door. At the half hour, Van Damme got on the end of a superb cross from Steven Gerrard. His left-footed strike rung the crossbar and after a couple of bounces, MacMath found the loose ball in the box.
With the wind at their back and the altitude starting to play a factor, the Rapids were able to come out of the interval and pushed deep into Galaxy territory.
It until took them six minutes to really threaten Brian Rowe's net. Williams was able to find a wide open Shkëlzen Gashi 30 yards out. The Albanian international took a couple touches inside and sent a screamer inches wide of the right post.
After a flurry of fouls and yellow cards that seemed to take a lot of time off the clock, Gashi was on the end of yet another chance for the locals. Sam Cronin muscled Gerrard off the ball and sent a chip over the Galaxy’s back line. He found a streaking Gashi, whose low shot to the near post was pushed aside by Rowe.
With ten minutes to go, the Rapids were really pushing and Gashi forced Rowe to make the save of the game from 25 yards out.
The crucial strike came in the dying moments of the match. The referee gave an additional five minutes and the Rapids needed all five to get their goal. Pappa played the role of hero of the night by volleying home the game-winner after a poor clearance by a Galaxy defender.
Colorado Rapids 1-0 LA Galaxy
March 12, 2016 – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
COL: Marco Pappa 90’+5’
Colorado Rapids: Zac MacMath, Mekeil Williams, Axel Sjoberg, Jared Watts, March Burch, Micheal Azira, Sam Cronin, Dillon Powers, Dominique Badji (Marco Pappa 67’), Shkëlzen Gashi (Dillon Serna 83’), Kevin Doyle.
Subs not used: Chris Froschauer, Bobby Burling, Zach Pfeffer, Conor Doyle, Luis Solignac.
LA Galaxy: Brian Rowe, A.J. DeLaGarza, Daniel Steres, Jelle Van Damme, Robbie Rogers, Nigel de Jong, Steven Gerrard, Sebastian Lletget (Baggio Husidic 78’), Gyasi Zardes, Mike Magee (Emmanuel Boateng 67’), Robbie Rogers.
Subs not used: Clement Diop, Ashley Cole, Ari Lassiter, Rafael Garcia, Dave Romney.
LA: Steven Gerrard (caution) 43’
COL: March Burch (caution) 45’+1’
LA: Daniel Steres (caution) 50’
LA: Jelle Van Damme (caution) 72’
LA: Emmanuel Boateng (caution) 82’
COL: Jared Watts (caution) 89’
COL: Kevin Doyle (caution) 90’+1’
Colorado Rapids: 1-1-0 (3 points)
LA Galaxy: 1-1-0 (3 points)