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Rapids prevent Galaxy from clinching the Supporters Shield with 3-1 win

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Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIPhotos.com

BY ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, CALIF — Saturday night just kept getting better for the Colorado Rapids.

Moments before their match with the Los Angeles Galaxy, the Rapids learned they already qualified for the playoffs thanks to the Kansas City Wizards 1-0 loss to the New England Revolution. Fueled with the knowledge they had made the playoffs for the first time since 2006, the Rapids defeated the Galaxy, 3-1, in front of a sellout crowd of 27,000 at the Home Depot Center.

Omar Cummings was the star of the show with a goal and an assist while goalkeeper Matt Pickens added five saves for the Rapids.

Los Angeles missed out on a chance to clinch the Supporters Shield, and it won't get any easier next week with FC Dallas coming to the Home Depot Center on Sunday. For Galaxy captain Landon Donovan, Saturday's loss forces the Galaxy to look in the mirror going into the final week.

“We wanted to celebrate tonight, we wanted to have next week to relax a little bit. But maybe it will keep us sharp, keeping us going and we don’t have the ability to rest and relax, we have to keep going.” said Donovan. ”We need to clean up some things during the week and use next weekend as an opportunity to continue to get better.”

The Galaxy struck first when Edson Buddle scored his 17th goal of the season in the 9th minute. Buddle canceled out his own goal moments later when, off a Rapids corner kick, Sean Franklin failed to make a clearance and the ball deflected off Buddle's shoulder into the back of the net. Colorado took the lead in the 30th minute when Cummings beat a pair of Galaxy defenders and fired a cross to Conor Casey, who smashed it into the back of the net. 

The Rapids iced the match in the 67th when Casey and Cummings teamed up again. Casey delivered a pass into Cummings, who fired home his 13th goal of the season. The Jamaican forward caused a great deal of havoc for a Galaxy defense that welcomed back Gregg Berhalter. Even with the veteran leader in the lineup, the Galaxy defense consistently struggled to deal with Cummings' pace down the both sides of the field.

“We made the playoffs and that’s everything for me, its fourth season, first time. I’m just so happy to make the playoffs," said Cummings. "Coming out and going down to LA and then to come back and win 3-1, it think it’s tremendous.”

The story for the Galaxy centered around getting formerly injured players back up to speed for the playoff chase. Berhalter went 73 minutes and was noticeably rusty in his first match since August, but had a decent game organizing the Galaxy backline. David Beckham enjoyed his best game since returning from injury. He consistently provided service to Buddle and was too much for Wells Thompson and the Rapids defense to handle throughout the match. 

While the Rapids provided Los Angeles with a great deal of trouble in tonight's match up, they can give the Galaxy the Supporters Shield next week before the Galaxy kick off against Dallas. If Colorado beats Real Salt Lake, the Galaxy clinch the Supporters Shield. If the Rapids draw with RSL then the Galaxy need maximum points against FCD to bring the Supporters Shield back to Los Angeles for the first time since 2002.

As important as the Supporters Shield is, the Galaxy must now focus on working out the kinks before the playoffs begin in two weeks.

"We saw what we need to work on and we're gonna start getting in that playoff mentality, we need to be more aggressive and become a stronger more physical team," said Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez. "It's great to be playing teams like Dallas and Colorado who have heart and are still looking to win."

Comments

  1. The first half was the best the Galaxy played for weeks. Quick consice passing was giving the Rapids lots of problems. But once Colorado got ahead, they never looked like losing. In the end the score line flattered the Galaxy as Colorado created a lot of very good chances in the last 60 minutes of the game. The Galaxy defence did not look comfortable and Berhaulter’s lack of pace was evident.

    Also Donovan looks tired.

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  2. Great game! In my view LA was the better team in the 1st half but the Rapids never gave up and were the better team in the 2nd half. The Rapids had a great game last week in Dallas where they tied 2-2 followed by another great game last night. Go Rapids!

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  3. Seriously? No article about yesterday’s most exciting matchup? RSL-FC Dallas was on earlier and was much more interesting.

    (SBI-We had someone actually at the LA-Colorado game, hence the write-up.)

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