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Sun. Dec 7th at 3:00 PM EST · ESPN · UniMas · UDN · TSN1 · RDS2
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Final

Galaxy return home to face Rapids

four of those coming from set pieces -- they are not concerned about the task ahead of breaking down a massed defense. "If we weren't creating chances I would be concerned,' said Kirovski. "But we're creating chances. We've had lots of chances, but we're not putting them away. I can't explain it. We have good finishers on the team. Eventually, it will fall for us." ... Sampson said Paul Broome will start at left back, after he said he played well when coming on as a second-half substitute. Sampson wouldn't confirm that Sasha Victorine would return to his preferred role on the left side of midfield, but said Kirovski: "The way they play is with Pablo [Mastroeni] sitting just in front of the back four, so it would be to our advantage to get down the wings and get crosses in, using the pace of Sasha and Cobi [Jones]." ... That would mean a return to the starting lineup of Cobi Jones. Joseph Ngwenya filled the wide right role in Denver - but only after Arturo Torres was hit in the face during pre-match warmups. "That's not Joe's best position, but it really came down when Arturo was injured during the pre-game," Sampson said. "We had to play either Cobi Jones or Joseph from the start, and we knew that Cobi was not 90 minutes. At best he could have gone for 45, which he did, making a difference for us in the second half. ... I agree, that is not Joe's best position, but we felt that the matchup between he and Ricky Lewis would be a good one. I felt that he did get two or three good opportunities to get behind him, but he simply didn't take advantage of his chances."

COLORADO RAPIDS

While it's certainly a little cliched, the Rapids are trying to approach the game in Carson as if they need a goal to advance to the Western Conference final. "We've just got to focus like we're going in there at 0-0," midfielder Chris Henderson said. "It's nice having that one-goal lead, but now we're going to their house, and they expect to start scoring goals." ... For Rapids coach Tim Hankinson, that means less of trying to create numerous chances, rather limiting the time the Galaxy will have to generate their own buildup. "We've not been a team where you can set a game plan of putting a bunch of balls in the back of the net. It would be foolish to say we're going to just out-attack them. What we've done well is keep teams out of the back of the net. When they've got the ball, they're going to throw a lot of offense at us, so every man's got to be ready to defend," Hankinson said. "But there's got to be balance in play, otherwise you expose yourself too much. We have to take care of the ball. If we don't possess the ball better in the first half in L.A., then they are going to get the turnovers they need and throw a lot at us very quickly in the game." ... Added goalkeeper Joe Cannon, who is hoping not to bear the brunt of the Galaxy attack: "The problem (is) ... it's not like you can defend for 90 minutes. That field's so big and there's so much space. You need to try and get some possession in their half at some point in the game. Hopefully, there will be a 10-15 minute stretch where you take it to them." ... Again this week, Haitian international striker Jean-Philippe Peguero has been slowed by a chronic abdominal strain, and as he has been for weeks, is listed as questionable. Veteran striker John Spencer could be a candidate to figure as well, as he is getting closer to a return from a groin strain. ... Galaxy striker Carlos Ruiz is again the focal point of the Colorado marking. "He's such a dangerous player," center back Nat Borchers said. "I think it is important for us to let him know we're there, and if it means fouling him here and there and making him hurt, that's what we have to do."


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