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Gashi, Rapids stun Galaxy in penalty kicks to advance to conference final

Photo by Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports

Photo by Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rapids have been underdogs throughout the 2016 season. Sunday was no different, but Pablo Mastroeni’s side did just enough to take down one of MLS’ heavyweights to keep their MLS Cup hopes alive.

A Shkelzen Gashi stunner sent the game to penalty kicks via a 1-0 scoreline before Tim Howard made a pair of saves to lift the Rapids to a 3-1 win in the shootout. The victory saw the Rapids overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit to book a spot in the Western Conference final.

The two sides exchanged made penalty kicks to start the shootout before Giovani dos Santos missed his attempt on the Galaxy’s second shot. Following a Sebastian Le Toux make, Ashley Cole saw his penalty kick saved to give the Rapids a massive advantage. Marco Pappa put the Galaxy on the brink before Tim Howard saved Jeff Larentowicz’s shot to send the Rapids through.

Gashi’s long-range stunner came in the 36th minute. Given space well outside the LA Galaxy box, the Albanian unleashed a rocket that left Brian¬†Rowe helpless as the Rapids leveled the scoreline.

Throughout the majority of the match, the Rapids remained dominant, keeping the Galaxy attack at bay for large stretches. Landon Donovan was taken out at halftime, depriving the Galaxy of another attacking threat before Robbie Keane joined the fray for Alan Gordon in the 61st minute. Further reinforcements came 15 minutes later as Steven Gerrard entered for Mike Magee.

When all was said and done, the Rapids finished with a 15-6 advantage on shot, but just four of those 15 challenged Rowe in goal.

The win sends the Rapids through to the next round, where they will take on either the Seattle Sounders or FC Dallas for the right to play in MLS Cup.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Tim Howard didn’t face too much in either regular or extra time, but the Colorado Rapids goalkeeper was huge in penalty kicks to send the Rapids through.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

Shkelzen Gashi uncorked a ridiculous strike to level the scoreline, one more than worthy of sending them through to the next round.

MATCH TO FORGET

The entire LA Galaxy attack was rather ineffective throughout, dooming them to an early postseason departure.

9 comments
  • M vann

    Stunned? Give me a f****** break. Better record. Better season. A roster that has performed better. Nearly unbeatable at home. This is not a stunner. This is the Colorado Rapids. Get used to it people.

    Like

    • RB

      Thank you. My reaction as well. But discounting the Rapids has continued to be the norm this season.

      I even saw today that Gashi’s similarly stunning free kick goal against Vancouver late in the season has made the final 4 for goal of the year. When it happened, though, the reporting here called another goal (not in that final 4) far and away the best strike of the weekend. Happens all the time in coverage of teams like this.

      Like

    • Limey

      That was a horrible performance by both teams, CO will not win the West if they play like that. The Galaxy were embarrasing, played for penalties and then couldn’t score them, awful. CO were bad the Galaxy were worse.

      Like

  • johnnyrazor

    Galaxy could just never find cohesion with injuries and roster shake ups throughout the season they might of had the best roster on paper, but could rarely field it on the pitch. Was that the last we will see of Gerrard and Donovan?

    Like

    • Gary Page

      Although Gerrard looked decent while he was in there, given his and LD’s overall play, they won’t be really missed. The Galaxy looked old and slow and really miss Boateng and Zardes. Instead of big name old guys, they need players like Lodeiro, Valeri, or Giovinco. Hey Galaxy management, it’s not just about selling shirts, it’s about winning games, especially playoff games.

      Like

  • Old School

    No trophies for team assembled was a major failure. I said it would be before the season started in the midst of them receiving all kinds of praise and excitement. The off-season moves he made screamed of desperation and were absolutely atrocious.They got older, less competitive and more expensive on the books.

    He’s been a great MLS manager, but this off-season may prove to be the first signs the game is passing Arena by.

    Like

    • Lost in Space

      I hated most everything that the Galaxy did during the off-season. They brought in way too many aged players….than the nail in the coffin was bringing Donovan back into the team to cover for the lack of depth on the team due to all the injuries to the “OLD” guys.
      You have to think that this off-season that they’ll have to blow this team up and re-build. Players like Gerard, Gordon, Donovan, Laretowicz, Magee, & possibly Keane & Cole, need to be cut from the team…or signed for much cheaper contracts. If some of their younger players (Villareal, Soto, McBean, & Jamieson) aren’t up to playing in MLS by now they should be cut as well.

      They need to build around Zardes, Lleget, Boateng, Dos Santos, Van Damme, DeLaGarza & Rowe. They also need to go out and find some quality young players in the international market. Since it’s LA & Southern California it shouldn’t be too hard to convince players to sign on.

      Like

  • jb

    Haven’t watched much Galaxy this year, but it seemed odd that some of the big guns were on the bench for the most important match. Has their play dropped off that much? Keane? Love LD, but he looked slow and ineffective out there. Should he have been starting that match?

    On the plus side, Howard has got to be feeling good and primed for the Mexico match. Was trying to watch Jones to see how he looked but I didn’t get a solid read on him one way or the other.

    Like

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