The Rapids catch the Galaxy missing all three of their Designated Players again, with Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Keane all on international duty.The way the schedule has fallen, the Colorado Rapids have caught the LA Galaxy at the right time for all three of their meetings this season.
In their March 23rd match -- which LA won 1-0 at home -- LA was without Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Keane due to international duty, and Landon Donovan had not yet returned from his playing hiatus. In their second clash -- a 2-0 Colorado win on July 27 -- LA was again without its DP trio, with Donovan and Gonzalez helping lead the USA to the CONCACAF Gold Cup title while Keane was nursing an injury.
Donovan, Keane and Gonzalez are again slated to miss a matchup with the Rapids, with all three on international duty as Colorado returns to the StubHub Center for the rubber meeting this season, one that comes with playoff table implications.
The surging Galaxy, the two-time defending MLS Cup champions, have won three straight games for the first time all season, launching themselves to second place in the Western Conference. Bruce Arena's side is five points off the Supporters' Shield pace set by Real Salt Lake but has two games in hand. In order to make good on one of those on Saturday night, the Galaxy will need to lean on younger players like center back Tommy Meyer and forwards Jose Villarreal and Jack McBean to step in for the absent star power.
Newly signed goalkeeper Jaime Penedo is also on international duty with Panama, meaning much-maligned veteran Carlo Cudicini could be called upon between the posts.
Colorado, meanwhile, saw its nine-game unbeaten streak come to an abrupt end at Sporting Kansas City last weekend despite Edson Buddle's 97th goal of his career. The Rapids sit in fourth place, four points behind the Galaxy, and they only face Western Conference competition from here on out against teams all alive in the playoff hunt, meaning each of the final seven games carries significant meaning.
After a rash of injuries at the start of the season, the Rapids are a healthy bunch, with manager Oscar Pareja having lineup choices to consider all over the field -- most notably with attacking catalyst Martin Rivero, who has been a substitute in his last three appearances after an eight-game absence.