COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- Landon Donovan’s 80th-minute goal capped a massive second half comeback in a back-and-forth, high-octane 4-3 LA Galaxy win over the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Wednesday night.
The Galaxy win, which began with a pregame mini ceremony on the field for Donovan, snapped a two-game winless skid for the visitors, while extending Colorado’s season-worst losing streak to five games and saw Colorado allow four goals for the second-straight match and three or more goals for the fourth time in five games.
Three Colorado first half goals appeared to have the home side firmly in command, but a three-goal-in-25-minute surge ensured LA the full share of the points, pushing them within two points of third-placed FC Dallas.
Rapids veteran Edson Buddle became just the eighth player in MLS history to score 100 or more career goals with his 17th-minute strike, but his former teammate Donovan, who also had a second half assist, ensured that the goal would be for naught.
Coming in on four straight losses and with the loss of captain Drew Moor to a season-ending ACL tear, the Rapids came out of the gates firing. A long ball from Buddle picked out striker Deshorn Brown inside the box, and while the Jamaican’s initial shot was saved, the rookie Marlon Hairston cleaned up Jaime Penedo’s terrific save. The 20-year-old drilled it home from a tough angle in the 14th minute for the 1-0 advantage.
But the early scoring wasn’t done yet. Three minutes later, veteran Buddle, facing his old team, headed home perfectly on a terrific run into the box.
But the Galaxy pulled one back just a few minutes later, with Robbie Keane’s header on a Dan Gargan cross, halving the Rapids’ early advantage in the 20th minute.
The first half scoring came to a spectacular end when, after several close calls on both ends, veteran Marc Burch got in on the scoring party off a set piece. The 30-year-old drilled the set piece from 25 yards out and banged it off the bottom of Penedo’s crossbar and in for his first goal since last September.
On the other side of the half, though, Donovan made the most of his likely final trip to Colorado’s thin air. The retiring midfielder’s set piece went straight onto the charging head of Gonzalez, and the US international made no mistake, heading home in the 55th minute to cut the Colorado lead to 3-2.
With Colorado’s makeshift defense scratching and clawing to keep the ball out of the net, the Galaxy finally had their deserved equalizer in the 68th. Gonzalez was free for a header, and substitute Alan Gordon blasted home from close range for an easy finish to level things up.
But as the game appeared destined for a draw, the Galaxy, and specifically Donovan, had other ideas. With Rapids center back Marvell Wynne caught entirely out of position, Donovan took advantage, using a terrific run and classy finish to slot past Clint Irwin for the go-ahead goal in the 80th minute.
The Rapids get a 10-day break before traveling to Seattle to face the Sounders at CenturyLink Field, while the Galaxy head home quickly for a Saturday matchup against the Vancouver Whitecaps at the StubHub Center.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Robbie Keane||Kickstarted the Galaxy's comeback, and helped complete it by -- what else -- setting up Donovan's winner|
|2||Landon Donovan||After it appeared he would be shut out again on the road, Donovan popped up for key goal to beat makeshift Rapids team|
|3||Marlon Hairston||Like most of his teammates, Hairston can't compete with LA for experience, but showed in 1st half he can play well on both ends|