CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano’s Three Points to LA’s match against the Colorado Rapids. The match is the final game between the Galaxy and the Rapids this season with the two teams splitting the season series to date with the Galaxy beating Colorado 1-0 at home on March 23 and the Rapids claiming a 2-0 victory at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on July 27.
PLENTY OF HOLES TO FILL WITH INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES
The main question around LA Galaxy camp this week has been a simple yet complex one—who fills in for the four international players away on international duty?
The Galaxy will be without the services of forwards Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, center back Omar Gonzalez, and goalkeeper Jaime Penedo for their match against the Colorado Rapids. Without these four starters, competition for a place in LA’s starting XI has been heated leaving Bruce Arena with several tough decisions to make. Up top, Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal appear to be front runners for the position with Gyasi Zardes performing well out wide, but the lineup questions get much tougher when considering Gonzalez and Penedo’s spots.
Young center backs Kofi Opare and Tommy Meyer are strong contenders to slide into Gonzalez’s role and both have experience playing alongside Leonardo in Reserve League games. In goal, Arena has another difficult decision as Brian Rowe, Carlo Cudicini and Brian Perk are contending to fill in for Penedo. Rowe has been on the game day roster for LA’s last four matches in all competitions, but Cudicini has made 21 appearances for the Galaxy this season while Perk is yet to make a first team appearance for the Galaxy this season, though he has fully recovered from a concussion that he suffered in mid-July.
DILLON POWERS A FOCAL POINT TO THE RAPIDS ATTACK
During the team’s last meeting on July 27, the Galaxy were drawn into a physical battle with the Rapids that saw Colorado’s midfielder Dillon Powers lead his team to a 2-0 victory—a match that was LA’s last defeat in all competitions. This time around, the Galaxy defense will be looking to put the clamps on the talented rookie.
What made Powers effective back in July was his ability to make well-timed late runs that allowed him to find opportunities to test the Galaxy goal, but also showed his willingness to fight for possession and press LA alone. Without the services of Gabriel Torres up front, Powers is once again expected to serve as the playmaker as he’ll attempt to feed wingers Deshorn Brown and Vicente Sanchez while also making runs behind the defense.
As far as stopping Powers, expect LA to press him from the outset and use either Juninho or Marcelo Sarvas to mark him throughout the match, but the midfielders will also need assistance from either of the Galaxy’s central defenders to prevent those late runs.
BATTLE TO WATCH: VICENTE SANCHEZ vs. TODD DUNIVANT
In a battle of speed against intelligence, Todd Dunivant will have his hands full with the fleet-footed midfielder Vicente Sanchez, who has impressed since moving to the Rapids from Uruguayan club Nacional.
During his three matches with the Rapids, Sanchez has already tallied one assist as he’s become a focal point of the Colorado attack as his speed has created plenty of space for the likes of Dillon Powers and the team’s forwards Gabriel Torres and Edson Buddle. With Torres away on international duty with Panama, expect Sanchez to shoulder more responsibility in the offense for Colorado and will seek to stretch Dunivant with his pace. The wily left back may not have the speed of the Uruguayan, but look him to try to cut down on the room that Sanchez has to create havoc.
This battle won’t simply swing on Dunivant’s ability to control the Uruguayan, however, as he’ll likely need assistance from Leonardo, who have plenty of responsibility leading the Galaxy back four with Omar Gonzalez away on international duty.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com