It looked as if the Colorado Rapids and the Los Angeles Galaxy were going to share the spoils tonight. But Marco Pappa had other plans as he scored late on to hand the Rapids a 1-0 victory.
Pappa clinches three points late on
The new Rapids man has made an instant impact in the beginning stages of this chapter in his career. He latched onto a failed clearance and slammed his left-footed shot from an near post past Brian Rowe. This late winner could be the confidence booster Colorado needs to kick-start their season.
“It’s going to sound funny for sure. When the ball was coming to me, the light came right in my face. I didn’t really see the ball, I just remember it coming in the air," Pappa said afterwards.
Daniel Steres, joining this season from LA Galaxy II, had been immense in his two outings so far this season. He's won tons of aerial duels, clearing danger away from the box while even managing to score last week. But it was his clearance, in the 95th minute, that failed to get far enough away from the box. Instead, the ball landed at Pappa's feet and the rest is history.
From the get-go Colorado looked like the better of the two sides. They ventured into the final third of the pitch often but lacked ideas when the moment of truth came. Their chances came early in the match when Kevin Doyle missed the net with a header two minutes in.
Galaxy's first chance of the falls to Robbie Keane in the ninth minute of play. He had a free header near the top of the six yard box miss to the left of the goal. For a striker like Keane, he should at least be hitting the target from that distance and test Zach MacMath. Colorado's creative player, Dominique Badji, had his first look at goal not long after. He found space inside the penalty box but had a weak header saved by Rowe.
Jelle Van Damme, in his first MLS start, had a couple of chances to score in the first half - off of Steven Gerrard crosses. Van Damme's first attempt came in the 20th minute when his header missed the target by mere inches. His second occurred 10 minutes later after he met a Gerrard set piece at the top of the six yard box on the volley. The shot bounced off the right post and a couple of Rapids defenders before MacMath caught it.
Can the Galaxy fix their away problems?
Those would be the last opportunities that the Galaxy would be able to muster. They have a history of performing worse on the road and it showed once more. How can they right their wrongs? Is it a mental thing? Bruce Arena is not one for making excuses though. He'll make sure his side performs better the next time they play away from home.
The Los Angeles Galaxy return home next week to take on the San Jose Earthquakes at 10:30 PM EST at the StubHub. Colorado will hope that their winning ways continue on the road where they meet D.C. United. The Rapids match kicks off at 5:00 PM EST form the nation's capital.