Shorthanded Galaxy stifle 10-man Rapids for 3-1 win
(by Nick Thomas mlsnet.com 6-18-11)
The LA Galaxy may have been missing both Landon Donovan and David Beckham, but they still ran out comfortable 3-1 winners over a 10-man Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night.
The defending champions saw their nine-game unbeaten streak snapped thanks to an own-goal from Drew Moor, a wonder-strike from Juninho and a late insurance goal that iced the victory for LA.
Colorado seemed to have the bulk of possession in the first half-hour but it was the Galaxy who took the lead against the run of play. In the 25th minute, Miguel López placed a deft ball behind the Rapids defense for Chris Birchall, who was able to cross into Moor’s path.
The Rapids defender, who scored the winner in stoppage time last week against Portland, was unable to control the cross, turning it into his own net from close range. The Rapids players complained that the ball had gone out of play before Birchall was able to get his cross in.
Moor almost made up for that mistake with a strong close-range header from a corner in the 41st minute, but could only head it over the bar. A minute later, it was 2-0 as LA midfielder Juninho picked the ball up and placed a right-footed cracker from 25 yards out into the corner of Matt Pickens’ net.
Rapids coach Gary Smith made an aggressive lineup change at halftime, bringing on Omar Cummings for his first action since suffering an ankle injury on May 4. That gave Colorado three forwards on the pitch, with starters Conor Casey and Caleb Folan.
The old combination of Cummings and Casey proved fruitful in the 64th minute as the Jamaican dribbled into the penalty area and hit a low, right-footed shot against the post. The ball rebounded into Casey’s path and he tapped into the empty net to bring the Rapids to within one.
But their rally was stopped short 10 minutes later as Folan was red-carded for a harsh challenge on Juninho. The Galaxy capitalized in the 81st minute as second-half substitute Barrett latched onto a cross from Todd Dunivant inside the penalty area to seal the game.
With the win, the Western Conference-leading Galaxy improve to 9-2-7; they next travel to California rivals San Jose on June 25. The Rapids, meanwhile, drop to 5-4-7 and have not won at home since April 3. They next travel to Columbus on June 26.
2010 Super Cup preview
Beckham, Arena downplay the hype
(by Larry Morgan lagalaxy.com 6-16-11)
The LA Galaxy’s David Beckham remembers watching last season’s MLS Cup between Colorado and FC Dallas and found it a particularly frustrating experience, knowing he and his Galaxy teammates had designs of being in Toronto on that cold, November night and playing for the league title.
Now it is almost seven months later, and the Galaxy (8-2-7) are about to take on the defending champion Rapids (5-3-7) on Saturday in Commerce City, Colo., in the teams’ first meeting of the season. But if you’re looking for any extra incentive on the Galaxy’s part, you won’t find it.
Not a lot of it anyway.
“I don’t think it matters who you come up against. This is a new season,” Beckham said Thursday. “They deserved it last season, it’s a new season and we need to concentrate on what we do and what we can focus on.
“If you want to win things, you have to come up against the best teams and the best players.”
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena also downplayed any possibility of extra incentive in Saturday’s match.
“You can make that all you want it to be, but it’s over with,” he said. “That was last year, and this year is a different situation. We’re going to Colorado to play a good team and we want to try and get three points.
‘”I don’t think anyone’s even mentioned (incentive), to be honest with you. The way our league goes, you kind of forget real quick who won the championship the year before. You don’t have time to be thinking about it a whole lot.”
Defender Todd Dunivant was one of the few Galaxy players who said the air will be a little different on Saturday, and it had nothing to do with the high altitude at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“Yeah, there’s incentive,” he said, “because they did what we wanted to do last year. They got hot at the right time, went all the way and won the championship. There’s certainly more in it for us.
“These guys are the champs until somebody says otherwise.”
Added forward Mike Magee, “The thing I noticed last year when we played (2009 champion) Salt Lake was they got the crest on their jersey and had a target on their back.
“I remember watching the final last year and having a bitter taste in my mouth, thinking it should have been us. All those things definitely will be on my mind.”
But not the only thing, others players said. The regular season is at the halfway point, and the Galaxy simply are looking for a victory against a team that has been tough on them away from The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy are 8-15-4 all-time on the road against Colorado, although they did claim their first-ever win at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park 1-0 last May 5.
“When you’re playing the prior champion you always want to play a little harder and give a little bit extra,” goalkeeper Josh Saunders said. “But we’re treating this game like we need three points.
“They are the reigning champions, but we need the three points. That’s more important than anything.”
Welcome to the RSL Cup blog
I've been a fan of Real Salt Lake since it joined MLS and took to the field in 2005, and I've been a fan of MLS since it began in 1996. Lately however I've started to worry about the path MLS is taking and the poor decisions they are making that in my mind threaten the growth of soccer as a whole in the US. (see "Columbus conspiracy" section) Soccer in America will grow only when we have a vibrant and diverse minor league system, something that MLS seems to be smothering at the moment. (see "American soccer wars" section) Let's keep our eyes on the situation and hope for the best, a future where grass-roots soccer and the minor leagues can not only exist but flourish, as well as where the contributions and history of the league's early clubs are appreciated and preserved.