Colorado Rapids vs LA Galaxy 04-22-2012 - Preview

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Colorado Rapids
1 - 2
Final
LA Galaxy
MLS Regular Season
April 21, 2012
9:00pm EDT
Dick's Sporting Goods Park

Preview: Rapids seek to end LA's dominance at DSG Park

COLORADO RAPIDS vs LA GALAXY
DICK'S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
April 21, 2012 (WEEK 7, MLS Game #58)
9 pm ET (Altitude; KDOC/KWHY)

A key Western Conference clash is ahead on Saturday evening at Dick's Sporting Goods Park when the Colorado Rapids play host to the LA Galaxy. The Rapids are coming off back-to-back losses away from home, last weekend falling 1-0 at Seattle Sounders FC. The Galaxy put an end to a two-game skid of their own last weekend, coming back for a 3-1 home win against the Portland Timbers.

REFEREE: Ramon Hernandez. SAR (bench): Corey Rockwell; JAR (opposite): Jason Cullum; 4th: Jasen Anno
MLS Career: 33 games; FC/gm: 28.6; Y/gm: 4.4; R: 7; pens: 8

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INJURY REPORT:

  • COLORADO RAPIDS - OUT: MF Jamie Smith (R ACL tear); DF Anthony Wallace (L Achilles tear); MF Pablo Mastroeni (headaches); QUESTIONABLE: FW Conor Casey (L Achilles tear); DF Eddie Ababio (concussion); PROBABLE: MF Ross LaBauex (sports hernia)
  • LA GALAXY - OUT: DF Omar Gonzalez (L knee surgery); DF Leonardo (R knee surgery); GK Brian Perk (sports hernia surgery); QUESTIONABLE: MF David Beckham (back spasms); DF A.J. DeLaGarza (R adductor strain); MF Michael Stephens (R ankle sprain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS:

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none

SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (56 meetings): Rapids 21 wins (1 shootout), 66 goals ... Galaxy 29 wins (2 shootout), 88 goals ... Ties 6

AT COLORADO (28 meetings): Rapids 15 wins (0 shootout), 37 goals ... Galaxy 9 wins (1 shootout), 31 goals ... Ties 4

RETURN MATCHES: 9/16: LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids, 4 p.m. PT (Galavision); 9/30: Colorado Rapids vs. LA Galaxy, 5 p.m. MT (Galavision)

LAST YEAR (MLS):

6/18: COL 1, LA 3 (Casey 64 - own goal 25; Juninho 42; Barrett 80)
9/9: LA 1, COL 0 (Donovan 36)

  • The Galaxy have won each of their last visits to Dick's Sporting Goods Park, including a 3-1 win last June 18. The Galaxy won both meetings a year ago.
  • Before the Galaxy's 1-0 win at The Home Depot Center last year, the Rapids had won on each of their last two visits to Carson to play LA.
  • Coaches record: Oscar Pareja vs. LA: first game ... Bruce Arena vs. COL: P18 W11 L5 D2

COLORADO RAPIDS

The Colorado Rapids lost for the third time in three matches on the road, suffering a 1-0 defeat by Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field. The Rapids are in a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference with 9 points from 6 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: Rapids take narrow loss in Seattle

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone game came in the 63rd minute, when Zach Scott sent a glancing header off a Alex Caskey corner kick from the left inside the back post.
  • Sounders FC goalkeeper Michael Gspurning was called upon to make just one save in recording a second consecutive shutout.
  • Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made one change to the team that fell 2-0 to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Tony Cascio came back into the team in place of Tyrone Marshall.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): Matt Pickens - Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Luis Zapata - Jaime Castrillon (Kamani Hill 69), Jeff Larentowicz - Brian Mullan, Martin Rivero, Tony Cascio (Andre Akpan 83) - Omar Cummings.

TEAM NEWS

This or That: Marvell Wynne

  • Colorado have been shut out in back-to-back games, with three consecutive losses on the road. The Rapids are 2-0-0 in Commerce City.
  • "I thought we did exactly what we wanted to do in the first half. We came in and matched their intensity. We were better than them at times in the first half, created some chances," said Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja. "Our inability to create and possess in the second half wasn't good enough today. To give up a set-piece goal is a bad goal to give away. We're leaving here disappointed and have to fix things like that."
  • After making a tactical shift for the Real Salt Lake match, Pareja returned to the group that had been successful against Chicago at home. But he took off Jaime Castrillon after 69 minutes in favor of Kamani Hill.
  • "[Mart"n Rivero and Castrillon] are players who like the ball, and that's what we expect from them. When you don't have the right chemistry or the right timing and you're a little late here and there, it'll be [tough] for them," Pareja said. "But definitely for them it's a transition to the league and they're going to find the ball."
  • The Rapids have scored one of their seven goals in the first half, and are one of four teams not to have a goal in the opening half-hour of games (along with LA, Philadelphia and Toronto).
  • "I was trying to get a better performance in the first half this game and I saw it. It was very positive; in the second half we weren't as consistent as we were in the first," said defender Drew Moor. "Going forward we need to beat LA. I saw a lot of intensity and courage in the first half. We need to be more dangerous and create options to score. At the end of the day that's going to give you points."
  • Conor Casey had targeted the Galaxy match for his return from a tear to his Achilles tendon suffered last year. But he fell ill early in the week and was not only held out of full training, but not allowed to come to the Rapids' training facility.
  • The Rapids return home to face both Home Depot Center clubs (LA Galaxy and Chivas USA) in back-to-back games at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, before heading back out for a three-game road swing to New England, FC Dallas and D.C. United. The Rapids have lost of seven of their last nine MLS (league and playoff) games on the road.
  • "The last 4 of 5 have been on the road in tough places to play. If you break each game down individually you feel like we should have a better record than we do now, especially after (last week's) match," said Moor. "We came in the first half (in Seattle) and did exactly what we wanted to do and to give up a soft goal ... good for them but our record should be better than it is right now."

LA GALAXY

The LA Galaxy put an end to their two-game losing slide, coming from behind for a 3-1 win against the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy are in eighth place in the Western Conference with 6 points from 5 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: Galaxy notch big win over visiting Timbers

LAST MATCH

  • The Timbers broke in the 23rd minute. Eric Alexander sent a through ball behind the Galaxy back line and Kris Boyd ran onto it before slotting home with a low shot from just outside the area.
  • The Galaxy pulled even in the 44th minute. Streaking down the left side after receiving a through ball from Todd Dunivant, Robbie Keane rounded Eric Brunner in the corner before finding Landon Donovan, who buried a shot past Troy Perkins from inside the area.
  • The home side then took the lead for good in the 83rd minute. After a flurry of pressure around the Timbers area, Juninho latched onto a half-clearance and hammered a low rocket from beyond the area.
  • The Galaxy added the exclamation point in stoppage time when David Beckham added another goal to his highlight collection, bending the ball into the top corner from 25 yards out to beat Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
  • Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made three changes to the team that suffered a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park. David Junior Lopes came into central defense for A.J. DeLaGarza, David Beckham started in midfield for Michael Stephens, and Chad Barrett replaced Edson Buddle up top.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Josh Saunders - Sean Franklin, David Junior Lopes, Tommy Meyer, Todd Dunivant - Landon Donovan, Juninho, David Beckham, Mike Magee (Pat Noonan 81) - Robbie Keane, Chad Barrett (Edson Buddle 67).

TEAM NEWS

Anatomy of a Goal: Donovan vs. Portland

  • The Galaxy climbed out of last place in the Western Conference with the victory, their first in nearly a month.
  • "Inside the team, they probably know that what they did inside the group as a team tonight was better than the past and that's what we build on," said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. "At the end of the day, you have to be a good team and we haven't been a good team in the early going. Tonight, we were a good team."
  • David Beckham's long-range strike to close out the win vs. Portland was his first goal in open play since October 2010. Both of Beckham's goals last year in league play came directly from set pieces.
  • "It's a big win obviously because of the run that we've been on and the way we've been playing," Beckham said. "Overall, our performance was a 100 percent better than it's been all season. We played as a team, we attacked and defended as a team and we deserved to win." Said Arena: "He hung in there for 90 minutes, was obviously a great goal and sealed the win tonight, three points. It was big for the team and big for the player."
  • Landon Donovan scored his first league goal of the season, and also added his second assist on Beckham's strike.
  • "It's important, because you can't sit on the bottom for too long, so it was good to get ourselves out of the cellar. We played better last week, today was, I think, our best performance all around of the season," said Donovan. "We've got to keep carrying it to the coming weeks. It's not good enough to have a couple better games then have a bad game; we have to be consistently better."
  • Juninho continued his long-range prowess, scoring his first goal of 2012 vs. Portland. Juninho has scored nine goals in his MLS career - eight have come from outside the penalty area.
  • "Obviously it has taken a while and he's still not where he needs to be but that's probably the reason of him being a little behind the rest of the team. He still has a way to go," said Arena.
  • Obtained in a cross-Home Depot Center deal with Chivas USA earlier in the week, David Junior Lopes stepped into a starting spot in central defense and played 90 minutes.
  • "I thought he played real well. We were a little concerned going into the game with his fitness for 90 minutes but he hung in there and did a great job," Arena said. "You can see that he's an experienced player. Obviously, he has some qualities we've been lacking in that position. We're hopeful we can build on his performance and our team's performance."