On Friday at the Home Depot Center, MLS's regular season champ the LA Galaxy will face off against the Cup Tournament Champion Colorado Rapids. The Los Angeles hosts have eleven points on Colorado, and four points on their closest competition for the Shield (Seattle Sounders). Still, Colorado didn't tear up the regular season last year, when they snuck off with the MLS Cup.
With a victory, the Los Angeles Galaxy can clinch one of the ten playoff spots available to MLS teams. They could have clinched a spot with a win in Kansas City, but were only able to walk away with a draw. This is the second straight week the LA Galaxy have been on Fox Soccer's Soccer Night in America, a program which will not exist next year.
The Rapids are returning to league play after back to back 2-0 losses, last time falling at the Chicago Fire. Chicago scored two goals in the first half, and never looked back. Colorado also lost in a Champions League match in Honduras. The squad Colorado trotted out onto the pitch was the same one which drew with Chivas USA 2-2 in their previous MLS match at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
The Galaxy were set to make it three wins in a row, before giving up a late equalizer on a penalty. Sean Franklin got the brace for both the Galaxy goals, but Frankie Hejduk was called for a handball in the box. Omar Bravo took the penalty kick calmly, and stole a point back from the Galaxy.
Bruce Arena had to make three changes to his squad. Gregg Berhalter suffered a serious foot injury and is out for the season. AJ DeLaGarza took his spot, and with Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane affected by international duty, Mike Magee and Adam Cristman started in their place.
The last time these two teams got together, in Colorado, saw the Galaxy win 3-1. Chris Birchall knocked in a Miguel Lopez early cross, and Juninho scored from outside the box before halftime. Conor Casey brought Colorado back into it, but after Colorado went down to ten men, it was only a matter of time until Chad Barrett knocked in a Todd Dunivant cross to put the game away.