With no Landon Donovan, no Robbie Keane and no Omar Gonzalez, Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy suffered their first defeat at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in five years. The Galaxy fell, 2-0, to Oscar Pareja’s Colorado Rapids to fall to 10-9-3 (33 points) and sink further down the MLS Western Conference standings.
Here are six things we learned from Saturday afternoon’s tilt in Commerce City, Colo.
1. A slow first 15 minutes
Early on in the first half, both teams tried to find their footing. It took the fourth minute for Los Angeles to earn their first break of the contest, when Hector Jimenez won a free kick. Jose Villareal didn’t get a good delivery on the ensuing set piece. Hendry Thomas got cautioned in the ninth minute for a challenge on Juninho.
Both sides were engaged in a ball possession battle that Los Angeles were winning. Jimenez fancied his chances in the 15th minute but his shot went high.
2. A little controversy to spice things up
Despite the Jimenez miss, Los Angeles continued to win the ball possession battle as the match neared the midway point of the first half. Chris Klute tried a cross in the 21st minute but his delivery was collected by Carlo Cudicini. Juninho’s first attempt on goal in the 22nd minute just missed wide left.
With Jose Villareal getting a knock that same minute, Colorado looked to take advantage of the Galaxy losing their scoring punch. But LA continued to fire away, with Marcelo Sarvas trying one in the 27th minute. Colorado’s next attempt a minute later was collected. In one of the more bizarre events, Juninho was carded in the 29th minute for simulation.
3. Colorado earn the breakthrough
Pablo Mastroeni was also given a yellow for dissent regarding the call in the 31st minute. Edson Buddle nearly scored on his former team in the 33rd minute of play but his shot just sailed over the crossbar. In the 34th minute, Nick LaBrocca’s next shot hit the crossbar. That would be his last attempt of goal before Atiba Harris went into the fray, since LaBrocca was suffering from groin issues.
Sarvas tried a shot in the 39th minute, but that didn’t test Rapids netminder Clint Irwin as it sailed wide left. DeShorn Brown nearly got through but Cudicini was there to make the stop. Set pieces have been an issue for the Galaxy, and Thomas’s header was proof of Los Angeles’s issues with set piece defending in the 41st minute.
Depth issues in defense have also been a problem for the Galaxy, and Tommy Meyer earned a knock in the 45th minute. Dillon Powers almost made it 2-0 Rapids. Todd Dunivant nearly equalized in the first minute of first half injury time, but Clint Irwin denied his chance. With that, the first half ended with Colorado up 1-0.
Colorado Rapids LA Galaxy
5 Attempts on Goal 5
3 Shots on Target 0
2 Shots off Target 4
0 Blocked Shots 1
1 Corner Kicks 0
4 Fouls 6
6 Open Play Crosses 8
2 Offsides 0
1 First Yellow Cards 2
0 Second Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0
22 Duels Won 17
56% Duels Won % 43%
187 Total Pass 176
72% Passing Accuracy % 75%
51.9% Possession 48.1%
4. The kid’s all right-Dillon Powers, that is
Well, that didn’t take long. In the 47th minute, Powers broke through for his fourth goal of the season. A.J. DeLaGarza was left on an island all alone, having to mark Edson Buddle. That allowed Powers, a rookie to break through and win an easy 1-v-1 with Cudicini.
Sean Franklin tried a chance in the 51st minute but his shot was collected by Irwin, who had a quiet day. Another chance from Franklin was well off the Mark. Jimenez couldn’t reel in a corner in the 55th minute.
5. Closing time for Colorado
With Colorado up 2-0, the onus for the Rapids was to preserve and build on their advantage. It was the home side that would go on to win the ball possession battle, but what of the rest of the match? Thomas nearly earned his brace in the 67th minute but just missed wide right. Laurent Courtois’s first volley in the 68th minute was collected by Irwin.
Buddle had plenty of space to finish a delivery from Marvell Wynne, and should have headed in his chance in the 69th minute.
6. Gyasi Zardes falls just short
A Juninho corner in the 76th minute was collected by Irwin. Atiba Harris couldn’t ice the game in the 78th minute of play due to traffic. Klute had a teasing cross in the 84th minute but couldn’t find anyone in burgundy to connect the ball to. Buddle’s best chance in the 86th minute hit the side netting.
Gyasi Zardes’s next big opportunity came in the 88th minute of play but that hit the top netting. Another chance in the 89th minute hit the side netting. Had Zardes finished those opportunities, Los Angeles would be on even terms. Juninho’s last set piece opportunity in the 92nd minute hit the top netting.
|Colorado Rapids||LA Galaxy|
|10||Attempts on Goal||11|
|4||Shots on Target||2|
|6||Shots off Target||8|
|14||Open Play Crosses||13|
|1||First Yellow Cards||2|
|0||Second Yellow Cards||0|
|58%||Duels Won %||41%|
|73%||Passing Accuracy %||74%|