Match Preview: LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids

Saturday, September 19, 2020

There is no let-up for the Colorado Rapids as they play their third away game in the space of a week, this time traveling to Carson, California for a Saturday night meeting with the LA Galaxy, writes Richard Fleming.

If reports that Kei Kamara has departed for Minnesota United are confirmed, and Diego Rubio misses out after suffering a knee injury midweek in Dallas, then the Rapids would be minus their two leading scorers from 2019.

It would likely mean the Rapids give Andre Shinyashiki the start up top. He replaced Rubio at Dallas on Wednesday and notched his first goal of the season in a disappointing 4-1 loss.

A week ago, nobody saw the Rapids winning 5-0 at Real Salt Lake, smashing records left, right, and center with a ruthless performance, and arguably their best in a while. Few will have foreseen the reversal in Texas four days later.

Fatigue was listed as a factor in that Dallas defeat, but it will not be used as an excuse by a Rapids side aware of what they can do.

Younes Namli admitted: “Of course, it’s a lot of games in a short period but it’s the same for every team. I look at it that way.

“We’re lucky. We get to play football every three or four days, so I’m just looking forward to the next game and trying to go to LA and get the win.”

The Rapids tackle a team which is 4-0-1 in its previous five games, having not won any of their opening five of 2020. The Galaxy have also not played since last Sunday, when they kept a second successive shutout with a goalless draw at San Jose Earthquakes.

In Cristian Pavón they have a midfielder with six goals and four assists, and who has just been named in Argentina’s preliminary squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Bolivia.

Sebastian Lletget is currently enjoying one of his best seasons in MLS. The 28-year-old has four goals from midfield, including two in the recent 3-0 win over LAFC. His tally has only been bettered once in his previous five seasons at the Galaxy, when he notched seven goals in 2015.

The Galaxy’s form since departing the Orlando bubble has come despite having star striker Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez sidelined with a calf injury. The Mexico international made his return last weekend at San Jose, playing the last 33 minutes in his first game since July 13.

Expect squad rotation once again from the Rapids. Robin Fraser made four changes from the RSL team to the one which took on Dallas. Goalkeeper William Yarbrough made way for Clint Irwin, Drew Moor and Auston Trusty stepped in for Lalas Abubakar and Danny Wilson, with Jonathan Lewis starting ahead of Shinyashiki.

For the first 20-25 minutes against Dallas it appeared the Rapids were without too many worries. Mistakes were punished, and the game got away from them in double-quick time.

The Rapids are unbeaten in the last four meetings with the Galaxy, but they face one of the form teams in MLS, and one which has endured fewer games and traveled many less air miles in the last seven days.

Strength of character will be tested inside Dignity Health Sports Park. The Rapids left Salt Lake City on a high, only to trip up in Texas. The more recent result will also act as a motivator against the Galaxy, but we wait to see which Rapids team emerges on Saturday night.

Coverage of LA Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids is on Altitude and AltitudeNOW on Saturday from 8pm, with Lauren Jbara, Marcelo Balboa, and Richard Fleming.