TEMPE, Ariz. – Conor Casey scored two goals and the Colorado Rapids withstood a rally by the LA Galaxy to win their preseason scrimmage 4-2 on Wednesday at Arizona State University.
The game was a battle of two teams searching for depth as they embark on long seasons that include 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League group-stage play.
Both teams trotted out close to first-team lineups to start off. Joseph Nane and Wells Thompson filled the central midfield spots for Gary Smith’s team, while veteran Tyrone Marshall stood in as Marvell Wynne’s partner at center back.
Colorado’s defense was again the star of the show and kept the Galaxy off the board until well into the second half. Kosuke Kimura in particular did an excellent job to keep LA from any buildup down the left side.
Bruce Arena opted to start Mike Magee up top next to Juan Pablo Angel and put new Argentine import Miguel Lopez at left midfield.
Casey was his usual physical self up top and gave the Galaxy back line trouble. Nineteen minutes in, he took a pass over the top from Jamie Smith and finished to open the scoring. The big striker added another tally eight minutes later when he headed a rebound off the crossbar past Donovan Ricketts.
[inline_node:328886]LA actually settled down after the goals and began to build possession as Ángel and Landon Donovan found each other on a couple of chances, but were unable to finish.
The Galaxy’s star offseason acquisition, Ángel tried early to play with his back to goal but didn’t see much of the ball as Colorado’s back four stayed strong and either cut off passing lanes or surrounded the Colombian. Ángel was on the receiving end of an acrobatic López scissor-kick pass around the 25th-minute mark but was ruled offside.
A younger lineup came in for LA in the second half with Michael Stephens and Bryan Jordan taking over wing duty while Jovan Kirovski moved into midfield and A.J. DeLaGarza plugged into left back for Todd Dunivant.
Donovan earned a PK and finished to put LA on the board in the 58th, as he and Ángel appeared to find better chemistry. The insertion of Frankie Hejduk at around the hour mark minute gave the Galaxy a big shot of energy down the right flank. In the 64th, the veteran threaded the ball on an overlap to Adam Christman, who buried it to bring the Galaxy even. Hejduk stayed active for the remainder of the match.
Stephen Emory continued his improbable preseason for Colorado with a goal and an assist in the second half. The Denver-area native, who won himself a try-out with the team, set up Caleb Folan in the 76th minute and then added his second goal in as many games with a beautiful finish from the top of the box three minutes later.
Folan’s goal was the first of his trial period with Colorado, and will only make Rapids fans salivate further over the big Irish international. The former Hull City striker (pictured above) was dangerous all game long and proved he can find ways to be effective regardless of who he was paired with.
The Rapids return home to Denver on Thursday and resume preseason with a West Coast swing on March 1. The Galaxy face the Vancouver Whitecaps back at ASU on Saturday.
COL – Casey (Smith), 19'
COL – Casey, 27'
LA – Donovan (PK), 58'
LA – Cristman (Hejduk), 64'
COL – Folan (S. Emory), 76'
COL – S. Emory, 79'
Donovan Ricketts (Josh Saunders, 62’); Sean Franklin (Frankie Hejduk, 62'), Leonardo (Gregg Berhalter, 62'), Omar Gonzalez (Ryan Thomas, 77’), Todd Dunivant (A.J. DeLaGarza, 46’); Chris Birchall (Jovan Kirovski, 46’), Landon Donovan (Hector Jimenez, 62’), Juninho (Paolo Cardozo, 62’), Miguel Lopez (Michael Stephens, 46’); Juan Pablo Ángel (Adam Cristman, 62’), Mike Magee (Bryan Jordan, 46’).
1st half: Matt Pickens; Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Anthony Wallace; Brian Mullan, Joseph Nane, Wells Thompson, Jamie Smith; Conor Casey, Omar Cummings.
2nd half: Ian Joyce, Kosuke Kimura (Steven Emory, 62'), Drew Moor, Scott Palguta, Logan Emory (Adrian Leroy, 83'), Sanna Nyassi, Ross LaBauex, Joseph Nane (Wells Thompson, 62'), Jamie Smith (Michael Holody, 62'), Caleb Folan, Omar Cummings (Quincy Amarikwa, 62').