L.A. can clinch playoff berth against Colorado
Carson, CA – The Los Angeles Galaxy could have a playoff spot sealed before the weekend's over, even without a win against the defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids on Friday night.
Even a tie at The Home Depot Center would be enough to position L.A. (14-3-10) for a playoff berth, if Chivas USA, Red Bull New York and the Portland Timbers all lose Saturday. With a win, L.A. would clinch one of the 10 berths.
And L.A., which was "frustrated," according to Landon Donovan, after a 2-2 tie against Sporting Kansas City on Monday, could use the security of more points, as well as postseason security, as it enters a busy stretch.
In addition to maintaining the best record in MLS, the Galaxy also resume play in the CONCACAF Champions League next week against Mexico's Morelia.
Colorado (10-7-11) is in the same position in the CONCACAF tournament, and its next match is Tuesday at home against Mexico's Santos.
L.A. manager Bruce Arena had become accustomed to switching his lineup to cope with the busy schedule, and Gregg Berhalter will be unavailable this week with a right foot sprain.
Arena will have Robbie Keane (Ireland) and Chris Birchall (Trinidad) back from international duty after both missed Monday's game. David Beckham had his 12th assist in the tie, while Sean Franklin scored both goals.
But after K.C. tied the match on a late penalty, L.A. wants to get back on the field and extend its six-game unbeaten streak in all competitions.
Colorado last played on Aug. 27, which is a nice break for the Rapids before a stretch of seven games in just 23 days. The first, against a Galaxy squad that is unbeaten in 13 home games this season, is one of the toughest.
The Rapids welcome back four players from international duty, as Steward Ceus (Haiti), Omar Cummings (Jamaica), Jeff Larentowicz (United States) and Sanna Nyassi (Gambia) were all away with their national teams.
However, coach Gary Smith will have to adjust to the absence of Drew Moor, who will miss the game due to accumulated cards. Moor had played 68 straight games covering the full 90 minutes to set an MLS record.
With Moor out, Danny Earls should slot into his place at left back against the Galaxy. But with the tough stretch coming up, Smith would be forced to rotate his squad a little more anyway, so the rest could benefit Moor and the Rapids in the long run.
That doesn't mean Smith and the Rapids won't miss Moor against L.A.
"He's such a versatile individual, and it means I have to change some of my thoughts, and it means that another body has to come in and get the job done," Smith said. "It will be very strange and we will miss him because he's been such a big part of the successes we have had."