CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy supplied the pressure, Tim Howard supplied the class, and the 2nd and 3rd place teams in the Western Conference battled to a highly entertaining 1-1 draw before a raucous crowd of 25,667 at the Stub Hub Center on a balmy Saturday night.
The Galaxy spent almost the entire evening on the front foot, outshooting Colorado 8-3 in the first half alone. But Tim Howard proved that any rumors of his demise have been greatly exaggerated, as he stuffed a wide open Gyasi Zardes in the 11th minute, Giovani Dos Santos in the 39th, and received a little love from his goalpost when Jelle Van Damme’s snap header in the 26th minute caromed off the woodwork.
The Galaxy’s onslaught – not to mention the crowd’s enthusiasm – was quieted temporarily in the 51st minute when Shkelzen Gashi screeched a left-footed one-timer from outside the area into the top corner of goal, catching Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe and the rest of the Galaxy defense completely flat-footed. The go-ahead goal came entirely against the run of play.
Howard was not done with his display of craft, contributing a diving save in the 61st off an electric run-and-shoot by diminutive Emanuel Boateng, and parrying another Gyasi Zardes effort over the crossbar in extra time.
The Galaxy finally equalized off the ensuing corner, when center back Daniel Steres headed a Steven Gerrard curler past Howard and into the back of the net.
The game was marred by a frightening injury in the 78th minute, when Dillon Powers slid hard into a charging Brian Rowe. Rowe sustained blows to the head and groin, but managed to walk off under his own power after a ten minute delay.
The Rapids and the Galaxy share the points, and neither team will move up or down the standings. The Galaxy will travel across country to take on NYCFC at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, while the Rapids will return home to Colorado to host Orlando on the same day.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Tim Howard reminded observers of his World Cup heroics with his ability to stop shots and directly affect the the outcome of a match. Howard finished the night with five saves.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Jelle Van Damme’s early header off the post would have been a fair outcome, as the Galaxy were by far the aggressors on the evening. However the woodwork denied the tall Belgian, and ultimately the Rapids escaped with the draw.
MATCH TO FORGET
Giovani Dos Santos was on the ball a lot on the evening, and managed four shots, but none found the netting. On a night when the Galaxy lacked captain Robbie Keane and his offensive prowess, LA needed more from Gio.