Another week off did the LA Galaxy no favors as the team struggled in a 1 - 0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night.
Playing in their league-low sixth match of the season, the Galaxy traveled to face the Rapids on the back of their second bye week of the young season. While concerns regarding the Galaxy’s potential sharpness lingered throughout the week, LA nearly took the lead less than two minutes in.
Galaxy forward Rob Friend nodded down Baggio Husidic’s cross from the left side into the path of Landon Donovan. A goal shy of MLS’ all-time goal scoring record, the midfielder’s shot from six yards was parried away from goal by Colorado’s Clinton Irwin but only as far as Stefan Ishizaki. With his heels touching his own goal line, Rapids’ defender Drew Moor turned away Ishizaki’s goalward strike keeping the match scoreless.
Awoken by the Galaxy’s near miss, Colorado could have taken a lead of their own had foward Deshorn Brown been able to get his outstretched boot on a teasing cross along the Galaxy goal line half a minute later.
Despite ducking Colorado’s initial counterpunch, the Galaxy’s demise was sealed moments later courtesy of a delightful, albeit probably unintentional, finish by the Rapids Vicente Sanchez in the 20th minute.
Only partially clearing a Rapids’ corner kick, the Galaxy lost track of the Colorado forward to the left of the their penalty area. Controlling a crossfield ball with precision, Sanchez sized up and leaned into a delicate chip towards the Galaxy goal.
While the lofted ball appeared to be intended for the onrushing Moor at the back post, Sanchez’s seeing-eye shot found its way around Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and nestled itself into the net after a brief kiss off the woodwork. The eventual game winner was the attacker’s fourth of the season.
A goal behind, the Galaxy’s best chance to secure at least a share of the match’s points came in the 61st minute when it was adjudged LA forward Rob Friend was fouled in the Rapids’ penalty area.
Going to ground and clutching his face, Friend made a meal of a challenge by Moor after the Galaxy foward’s touch let him down 18 yards from goal. Replays later showed Moor’s attack on the Friend as superficial at best but it was no matter to the Rapids as LA’s Robbie Keane skipped the resulting penalty wide of the right post.
Colorado went on to stifle LA in the 30 minutes that followed, sending the Galaxy to their second defeat of the season.
Adding injury to insult, LA will be holding its breath after former MLS Defender of the Year Omar Gonzalez had to be substituted at halftime following pain in his left knee. The Galaxy defender was seen stretching and testing the knee moments before the end of the first 45 minutes on Saturday. Gonzalez missed much of the 2012 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in the same knee while on trial with Nuremberg FC in Germany. The Galaxy said the substitution was only precautionary.
Now 2 -2- 2 on the season, the Galaxy take to the road again next week where they’ll line up against the Portland Timbers. The game will be shown nationally on the NBC Sports Network.