COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The LA Galaxy may have been missing both Landon Donovan and David Beckham, but they still ran out comfortable 3-1 winners over a 10-man Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night.
The defending champions saw their nine game unbeaten streak snapped thanks to an own-goal from Drew Moor, a wonder-strike from Juninho and a late insurance goal that iced the victory for LA.
Colorado seemed to have the bulk of possession in the first half-hour but it was the Galaxy who took the lead against the run of play. In the 25th minute, Miguel López placed a deft ball behind the Rapids defense for Chris Birchall, who was able to cross into Moor’s path.
The Rapids defender, who scored the winner in stoppage time last week against Portland, was unable to control the cross, turning it into his own net from close range. The Rapids players complained that the ball had gone out of play before Birchall was able to get his cross in.
Moor almost made up for that mistake with a strong close-range header from a corner in the 41st minute, but could only head it over the bar. A minute later, it was 2-0 as LA midfielder Juninho picked the ball up and placed a right-footed cracker from 25 yards out into the corner of Matt Pickens’ net.
Rapids coach Gary Smith made an aggressive lineup change at halftime, bringing on Omar Cummings for his first action since suffering an ankle injury on May 4. That gave Colorado three forwards on the pitch, with starters Conor Casey and Caleb Folan.
The old combination of Cummings and Casey proved fruitful in the 64th minute as the Jamaican dribbled into the penalty area and hit a low, right-footed shot against the post. The ball rebounded into Casey’s path and he tapped into the empty net to bring the Rapids to within one.
But their rally was stopped short 10 minutes later as Folan was red-carded for a harsh challenge on Juninho. The Galaxy capitalized in the 80th minute as second-half substitute Barrett latched onto a cross from Todd Dunivant inside the penalty area to seal the game.
With the win, the Western Conference-leading Galaxy improve to 9-2-7; they next travel to California rivals San Jose on June 25. The Rapids, meanwhile, drop to 5-4-7 and have not won at home since April 3. They next travel to Columbus on June 26.
LA -- own goal (Drew Moor) 25
LA -- Juninho 3 (unassisted) 42
COL -- Conor Casey 3 (Omar Cummings 2) 64
LA -- Chad Barrett 4 (Todd Dunivant 3) 80
COL -- Sanna Nyassi (caution; Reckless Tackle) 36
COL -- Caleb Folan (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 74
COL -- Pablo Mastroeni (caution; Dissent) 81
LA Galaxy -- Josh Saunders, A.J. DeLaGarza (Gregg Berhalter 83), Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant, Chris Birchall, Juninho (Jovan Kirovski 81), Mike Magee, Michael Stephens, Juan Pablo Angel, Miguel Lopez (Chad Barrett 61).
Colorado Rapids -- Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Danny Earls, Wells Thompson (Quincy Amarikwa 85), Pablo Mastroeni, Jeff Larentowicz, Sanna Nyassi (Omar Cummings 46), Conor Casey, Caleb Folan.
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee's Assistants: Bill Dittmar; Mike Rottersman
4th Official: Daniel Fitzgerald
Time of Game: 1:54
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 82 degrees