all at home, and all against West opposition -- in a bizarre climax. The teams traded goals six minutes apart in the first half: Tyrone Marshall just reached in ahead of Chris Albright to poke home a corner kick (21), but Jean-Philippe Peguero powered home a header from the heart of the penalty area from a pinpoint Chris Henderson cross to pull the Rapids level.
Just as the match seems destined to wind down to a draw, the Galaxy won a penalty when Nat Borchers tripped up Guillermo Ramirez as he burst into the area, and Landon Donovan converted (86). Yet just two minutes later the Rapids received a penalty of their own, L.A. goalkeeper Kevin Hartman sending Luchi Gonzalez head over heels with his challenge as he slashed through the box, Jeff Cunningham neatly converting from the spot.
But just as the clock ticked over for the full 90 minutes, substitute Guy Melamed was adjudged by referee Jair Marrufo to have hauled back Marshall as they challenged for a free kick swung into the box, and despite the bitter recriminations from the Colorado players, Donovan sent Rapids 'keeper Joe Cannon the wrong way for his league-leading fifth goal of the campaign.
Galaxy coach Steve Sampson ran out the same starting XI for the fourth consecutive match. Here's Sampson's team (4-4-2): Kevin Hartman - Chris Albright, Ugo Ihemelu, Tyrone Marshall, Todd Dunivant - Cobi Jones, Paulo Nagamura (Mubarike Chisoni 69), Peter Vagenas, Guillermo Ramirez (Michael Umana 89) - Landon Donovan, Jovan Kirovski (Ednaldo da Conceicao 78).
"When we dominate a game like that we cannot lose our concentration," said Sampson. "It's good for the fans, it's good for the league. It's not so good for the coaches."
TEAM NEWSSampson was concerned that after high-profile matches the previous two weeks - against Home Depot Center rival Chivas USA and then top-of-the-table FC Dallas - his team had a letdown against the Rapids. The Galaxy outshot Colorado 18-3, yet scored just the one goal from open play. "We created a number of opportunities we should have put away," Sampson said. "We hope in the future those begin to fall for us."
Forward Joseph Ngwenya has not been available for the past two weeks while in his native Zimbabwe, dealing with the death of his grandmother. He should rejoin the team this week.
It was the second time this season three penalty kicks had been called in one match. Three were called in the New England Revolution's 4-3 victory against D.C. United on April 23 - in that match, two were called for United, one for New England.
The Galaxy now hit the road - where they haven't necessarily fared well in recent seasons, including a disastrous 2003 campaign when they became the first team in MLS history not to win on their travels. That season started with an eight-game road spell while The Home Depot Center was being built. The Galaxy opened the season this year with a moribund loss away to the Columbus Crew.
"We feel we can beat anybody at any time, and it's almost a fault because (playing at home) is kind of a safety net. It's something we need to change," Peter Vagenas told the L.A. Daily News. "... We need to break up that rhythm on the road. It's paramount for this team this year to establish an identity on the road, and we must do better in getting results, whether that's one point or three points."