Galaxy, Rapids shoot blanks
and second within five days -- the Los Angeles Galaxy and Colorado Rapids played to a scoreless draw in a midweek meeting at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver.
The Galaxy extended their unbeaten streak to four games though their winning run ended at three. Still, Los Angeles came away with a win and a draw in the series between the two clubs, a series Rapids coach Tim Hankinson could go far in defining the Western Conference race over the second half of the MLS season.
Both goalkeepers, Joe Cannon for the Rapids and Kevin Hartman for Los Angeles, made vital saves in keeping the other side off the board.
Galaxy striker Carlos Ruiz was very dangerous in the first half, and came close on a number of occasions to adding to his league-leading goals total. On the first -- in the third minute -- Andreas Herzog played one of his patented long balls from midfield right into the striker's path, but Ruiz's shot from just inside the box sailed over the bar.
Ruiz put his 23rd minute attempt on net after being set up from his fellow front-runner Jovan Kirovski. A perfectly-placed diagonal ball through the Rapids back line put Ruiz in alone against Rapids goalkeeper Joe Cannon and he smartly attempted to lift the ball over the sliding Cannon, but the 'keeper got his hands up to keep the game tied.
One minute later the home side thought they should have had a penalty kick after John Spencer went down in the box under a challenge from Herzog. The referee saw no foul, though, and play continued.
Ned Grabavoy - who scored his first professional goal Saturday in the Galaxy's 2-0 win against Colorado - made a blistering run up the right flank before dumping the ball off in the box to Ruiz, but the Guatemalan international didn't get much power on the shot and Cannon had time to dive to his right and make the save.
After the break, it was the turn of Galaxy 'keeper Hartman to lift his team. Ten minutes after the intermission speedy winger Chris Henderson got forward for the Rapids and controlled a long ball over the top, but Hartman was quick off his line to smother the chance.
Henderson was gifted a second chance to beat Cannon in the 69th minute after a mistake in the back by the Galaxy. Defender Ryan Suarez misplayed a back pass to create the opportunity, but his 'keeper bailed him out with another fine save.
Rapids midfielder Mark Chung nearly provided the winner at the 74-minute mark. Henderson created space for himself on the left flank with a series of cutbacks before crossing the ball into the heart of the box. Chung flew through the air to connect on a diving header, but it was parried away by Hartman in a remarkable stop.
The hosts had one final chance to grab three points deep in injury time and they came within inches of doing it. Defender Pablo Mastroeni floated in a cross and Nat Borchers challenged to get on the end of it, while Hartman came off his line. Hartman tried to punch the ball away but didn't make contact and the ball caromed off the left post, but was scrambled away to safety.
Los Angeles continues their four-game road swing on Saturday when they face D.C. United at RFK Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET, FSW/FSE). Colorado heads back to California where they will take on the reigning MLS Cup champion San Jose Earthquakes at Spartan Stadium at 4 p.m. ET (ESPN2).
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Joe Cannon (Colorado Rapids)
Los Angeles Galaxy (9-5-4) vs. Colorado Rapids (5-4-7)
July 14, 2004 -- Invesco Field at Mile High
Los Angeles Galaxy -- Kevin Hartman, Chris Albright, Tyrone Marshall, Ryan Suarez, Paul Broome, Cobi Jones (Alejandro Moreno 66), Ned Grabavoy (Chris Aloisi 79), Sasha Victorine, Andreas Herzog (Joseph Ngwenya 66), Jovan Kirovski, Carlos Ruiz.
Substitutes Not Used: Hong Myung-Bo, Dan Popik.
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Carlos Ruiz 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Carlos Ruiz 2); FOULS: 15 (Carlos Ruiz 5); OFFSIDES: 5 (Carlos Ruiz 4); CORNER KICKS: 1 (Andreas Herzog 1); SAVES: 5 (Kevin Hartman 5)
Colorado Rapids -- Joe Cannon, Antonio de la Torre, Nat Borchers, Pablo Mastroeni, Daryl Powell (Seth Trembly 33), Jordan Cila (Rey Angel Martinez 70), Chris Henderson, Kyle Beckerman, Matt Crawford, Alberto Delgado (Mark Chung 46), John Spencer.
Substitutes Not Used: Joey DiGiamarino, Michael Erush, Ritchie Kotschau, Jean Philippe Peguero, Gary Sullivan, Scott Vallow.
TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (Kyle Beckerman 3, Chris Henderson 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Chris Henderson 2); FOULS: 9 (Kyle Beckerman 2, Seth Trembly 2); OFFSIDES: 1 (Chris Henderson 1); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Matt Crawford 2, Antonio de la Torre 2); SAVES: 2 (Joe Cannon 2)
LA -- Ryan Suarez (caution; Reckless Foul) 15
LA -- Carlos Ruiz (caution; Diving, Exaggeration) 67
LA -- Chris Aloisi (caution; Delaying a Restart) 84
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: Robert Fereday; Bill Dittmar
4th Official: Gus St. Silva
Time of Game: 1:49
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.