LA Galaxy face the Western Conference leaders Colorado Rapids in midweek MLS action at StubHub Center on June 22 at 7:30pm PT. Fresh off a 1-0 road loss in Toronto last weekend, LA have continued dropping in the rankings and are currently in the final playoff spot in the Western Conference after a five-game winless streak. In the only match between the two teams in Carson last year, LA and Colorado played to a 1-1 stalemate. The Rapids are unbeaten in 10, and their last match against LA at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on March 12th resulted in a 1-0 late-game winner by Marco Pappa, ending LA’s 4-game undefeated record in the series.
Most of the home side’s regular starters and veterans remain injured, questionable or absent due to international duty, including Robbie Rogers (ankle surgery recovery out for 6 weeks), Steven Gerrard (hamstring, but trained this week), Giovani dos Santos (quad, but trained this week), Robbie Keane (Euro) and Gyasi Zardes (Copa America). It’s now become apparent without all their DPs and Zardes, LA Galaxy is a team without a complete identity, struggling to piece together an effective offense. Galaxy’s consistent starter Daniel Steres needs to be careful not to add a yellow card to his record as he one away from suspension. Though they boast a home record of 4-0-3, the Galaxy will struggle against the Rapids who have all but erased the bleak memories of last season going from the bottom of the table to the top.
Colorado are currently missing Marc Burch (suspension), Jermaine Jones (Copa America) and Shkelzen Gashi (Euro). Although the Rapids boast a remarkable home record with 7 wins and 1 tie, their away record is less stellar (2-2-3). The Rapids are without three defenders (Bobby Burling, Marc Burch, Mekeil Williams).
The teams, each with absences hindering them, are poised for a duel between LA’s diminished offense and Colorado’s depleted backline. If Giovani dos Santos returns to the pitch there’s a high probability of LA finally ending their goalless streak. Meanwhile Rapids’ fans eyes are on Pappa who has historically been a thorn in LA’s side wherever he plays. He just came off a two-month recovery period for a strained MCL and was subbed on in the 83rd minute last Saturday, scoring within six minutes against Chicago Fire.
The match is being held on LA Galaxy’s third-annual Pride Night. Although Rogers will not play in the match, he will be hosting a Q & A session with fans at the StubHub Tennis Stadium after the match.