DENVER, CO (March 12, 2016) – In a physical and thrilling home opener, the Colorado Rapids eked out a 1-0 win over the LA Galaxy thanks to a 94th minute goal from substitute Marco Pappa.
Colorado had almost the exact same lineup, save Marc Burch who took the place of Eric Miller at left back. LA had to do a bit of lineup shifting with Giovani dos Santos and Dan Kennedy out with injuries. Back up goalkeeper Brian Rowe made the start and super sub Mike Magee started up top with Robbie Keane.
The Rapids began the game on the front foot, dominating possession and creating several chances. Dominique Badji had several good chances streaking down his left flank, going at A.J. DeLaGarza. In the second minute, Badji got loose in the box and fired a cross towards the box, but Steven Gerrard headed it out of danger. The Rapids continued to put in pressure using Shkelzen Gashi and Badji working the flanks. In the 11th minute, Gashe took a free kick that found Badji’s head, but Rowe was able to corral it.
The Galaxy settled in later in the half. They came out of their shell and started owning possession for longer stretches. In the 30th minute, Gerrard took a free kick that took a deflection and hit the cross bar. Keane was near by, but goalkeeper Zac MacMath got to it first. In the 36th minute, a good build up led to Gerrard shot that was just over the bar.
The half ended 0-0. Gerrard and Burch were both given yellow cards towards the end of the half. Gerrard collided with Sam Cronin after Cronin had played the ball and Burch took Sebastian Lletget down as the Galaxy were mounting a dangerous counter.
Colorado started the second half with good energy. Kevin Doyle, Gashe, and Badji all had chances. In the 63rd minute, Gerrard delivered a nice through ball to a streaking DeLaGarza. DeLaGarza took a touch to send the ball across goal, but MacMath came off his line to get to it. As the game wore on, the Galaxy began to slowly bunker deeper and deeper into their own half, holding on for a draw.
The game got very physical in the second half. Teams traded hard fouls. Five yellow cards were handed out in the second half, the worst was given to Daniel Steres for pulling Doyle to the ground in the 50th minute.
The match was decided in the final minute of stoppage time. The Rapids had a good build up into the box throuh Pappa. Doyle flicked the ball into the air that Steres headed up but not out of the box. Pappa volleyed it first time under the cross bar and into the net. The whistle blew for full time just after the restart.
The Galaxy head home to face Cali Clasico rival San Jose Earthquakes next week. The Rapids will be on the road at D.C. United next weekend.