COMMERCE CITY, Colo. - The defending MLS champions Colorado Rapids hosted the top team in the league, LA Galaxy, which was missing Landon Donovan and David Beckham. Even without two of the league's best-paid and well-known players, LA Galaxy defeated the Rapids 3-1.
An excited crowd filled Dick’s Sporting Good Park to cheer on the Colorado Rapids. Many also hoped to get a glimpse of the ubiquitous Beckham, but word spread quickly that LA's No. 23 was not in the Mile High City. The Rapids, coming off a win in Portland, took the field harboring hopes of a home victory.
"We were looking at it as a game to continue to build confidence," Jeff Larentowicz said following the loss. "I think that the win in Portland put a positive spin on all the ties. Going into tonight to add another win to that, and do it against the best team in the league was only going to continue to boost our confidence, but that didn't happen."
The first 20 minutes passed by with both teams playing passionately, searching for the first goal. That opportunity was given to the Galaxy in the 25th minute, when the Miguel Lopez placed the ball behind the Rapids defense. Chris Birchall crossed it, where the ball struck Rapids defender Drew Moor before hitting the back of the net, making the score 1-0.
LA added to its tally when Juninho hit a beautiful shot from 25-yards out into the corner of the net.
"Juninho's strike was a special one,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. "A two-goal cushion going into the second half is big, and certainly Colorado came out hard. Colorado got that goal in the 64th minute, and the red card helped us as well."
The goal from Colorado was what Rapids fans came to see. Omar Cummings made his long awaited reappearance from an injury which ruled him out of the Gold Cup, and struck out towards the net. The ensuing shot hit the post, and was recovered by Conor Casey, who scored his third goal of the year.
The Rapids seemed to be gaining speed. It was cut short when Omar Cummings appeared to be fouled in the box, which went unnoticed by the referee. Moments later, Caleb Folan made an aggressive foul and was presented with the first red card of his MLS career.
"We had the momentum at that point," claimed Drew Moor. "We had scored a great goal, and had come out in the second half doing exactly what we wanted to do. We put them under pressure, scored an early goal. Caleb is an important player for us. Red cards, yellow cards; these things happen. Unfortunately, it was at a tough time tonight."
Now up a man, LA Galaxy benefited from the advantage by scoring again in the 80th minute. Chad Barrett received a cross from captain Todd Dunivant, and successfully hit the back of the net, making the final score 3-1.
"I think overall, I'm disappointed," admitted Omar Cummings. "Once you lose, it doesn’t matter what you did in the game. You lose, you lose. It was good to be on the field again, but I couldn’t be happy with the result at all."
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