Los Angeles Galaxy crush Colorado Rapids, 6-0

September 6, 2014

Carson, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Galaxy came into Friday night’s game against the Colorado Rapids in second place in the West, but also with heavy hearts, as A.J. DeLaGarza and his wife Megan lost their newborn baby Luca DeLaGarza on Thursday due to complications from Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.

The stadium's 18,145 fans had a moment of silence before the game and wore black armbands.  The LA Galaxy also posted on their website a link for donations to help research, at http://support.chla.org/pages/lucaknowsheart.

“We think the world of A.J. [DeLaGarza] and his family," said Galaxy coach Bruce Arena.  "It’s a difficult moment, so our thoughts are definitely with them. It was emotional. He’s a person that we all care about. He’s such a great person. Him and his wife. It’s awful difficult to be in that position. We feel his pain, and we will be as supportive as we can be for A.J. and his family. Certainly, our thoughts were with him tonight. It’s certainly it was a game we wanted to win for him.”

With DeLaGarza attending to more important matters, and Robbie Keane and Jaime Penedo out for international duty, LA was missing three of their best.  A deep and talented roster allowed Todd Dunivant and Brian Rowe to step into the defense, and Alan Gordon to play at forward.

The game started off in unbelievable fashion with a red card just 30 seconds into the game.

Landon Donovan got the ball in the midfield and passed out wide to Dunivant.  Dunivant crossed the ball in and Colorado goalkeeper Joe Nasco stepped out to defend.  As Alan Gordon attempted to go around him with the ball, Nasco intentionally grabbed Gordon’s legs and wrapped him up.  Gordon was unable to tap the ball into goal as he was taken down and head referee Baldomero Toledo showed red to Nasco.

Once the teams and crowd grasped what had happened, Colorado head coach Pablo Mastroeni subbed out Dillion Serna for replacement goalkeeper Clint Irwin.  Donovan took the penalty kick for LA and calmly chipped the ball into goal for a 1-0 lead.

​The first half would have plenty more excitement with multiple goals, as  LA pressed Colorado, capitalizing on the Rapids being down a man.

In the 30th minute, the Galaxy went up 2-0 when Gordon back-heeled a pass to Gyasi Zardes.  Zardes let the ball run through to Baggio Husidic, who wasted no time in shooting to the far post and beating Colorado goalkeeper Irwin.

​Not all the breaks went in LA’s favor though.  In the 26th minute, Dunivant had to be subbed out of the game with an injury following an earlier reckless tackle by the Rapids.  Near the start of the season, he was injured with an abdominal tear that required surgery, and he just recently got back to training and playing with the first team.

​As the first half neared its end, LA kept being aggressive.  After consistent passes and shots in front of the goal, the Galaxy got a third goal in stoppage time when a pass was played into Donovan in the box.  Zardes had initially run towards the pass, but decided to defer to Donovan and make an overlapping run.  Landon’s one-touch pass was perfect and Zardes scored with his left foot to the far post, giving LA a commanding 3-0 lead at the half.

​Ironically, the second half would start almost the same as the first when Zardes won the ball in the box in the 47th minute.  Chris Klute, who originally had won the ball, but lost it, decided to keep up with the theme of the night and tackled Zardes.  Toledo awarded LA the penalty kick and Donovan put the game away with a shot to the right side for a 4-0 lead.

​Colorado’s one chance to score came in the 69th minute when former Galaxy goal-scorer Edson Buddle got the ball in the box and shot on goal, but the prepared Brian Rowe quickly snuffed out the attempt.

​Unfortunately for the Rapids, the Galaxy attack didn’t stop, as Donovan passed out wide to Ishizaki who then quickly crossed the ball in near goal for Zardes to head it home for a 5-0 lead and his second goal of the game.

The header was yet another score for Zardes in what has been a breakout year, as he has scored 14 goals on the season and has greatly contributed to this LA team.  His goal also created a problem for the Galaxy, as the confetti officially ran out of stock following all the goal celebrations on the night.

“My teammates are helping me," said Zardes.  "All these guys are older than me and I’m just trying to learn as much as I can from them. Landon is a phenomenal player and I’m just trying to learn as much as I can from him. As you can see in the recent games, he’s the one giving me all my assists and I’m just trying to build off that as much as I can from these guys because they’ve played professional soccer longer than I have.”

​Baggio Husidic made it worse for Colorado in the 86th minute when Donovan’s pass found him on the left side and he scored to the far post for a 6-0 win.

​In the end, the night was a great one for the Galaxy, on the pitch at least, as they inched closer to the Seattle Sounders for the top spot in the West.  Donovan had a two goal-two assist game for the fans’ enjoyment, and every Galaxy player seemingly gained more confidence from the game.

​The Galaxy’s run of mid-week games continues, as they will travel to Montreal on Wednesday, September 10, for a game against Montreal.  With the win, the Galaxy improved to 14-5-7 on the season.

By Brian Kowalski
Staff Reporter for TheDailySportsHerald.com

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