CARSON, Calif. – No Robbie Keane, no problem for the LA Galaxy. At least not yet anyway.
The Irish international is expected to miss his fourth consecutive match this weekend because of a strained groin, but the defending MLS Cup champions surprisingly have fared well in his absence with two wins and a tie heading into Saturday’s game against the Colorado Rapids (1-2-5, 8 points last in the West) at StubHub Center (7:30 p.m., Time Warner Cable Sportsnet, Time Warner Cable Deportes).
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Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena understandably has been pleased with his team’s response during Keane’s extended absence.
“I think it’s been good,” he said of the Galaxy (3-2-3, 12 points, fourth in the West). “And it allows us to give Robbie the proper time he needs to get on the field. I think that’s been a positive. We’ve gotten points, we’ve gotten timely goals. For the most part we’ve defended well.
“We have a long way to improve. We’re going to get better. If we don’t get better we’re not going to be very good. We’re going to get better as the season goes.”
Central defender Omar Gonzalez said he did not think the worst when Keane went down with his injury.
“Never. That was never the mindset,” he said. “The mindset was we figure it out. We move on until Robbie is ready to play again. We play that whole time thinking we wish we had Robbie, that’s not going to help anybody.
“Someone’s ready to step in and keep on playing.”
Helping take up the slack have the likes of Alan Gordon, Gyasi Zardes and 18-year-old Bradford Jamieson IV, who scored arguably one of the best MLS goals of the year so far in last week’s 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls.
Gordon and Jamieson have proven to be a more than capable duo up top with Zardes putting in a shift as usual on the wing.
“A solid job,” Arena said of Gordon and Jamieson. “We could be a little more dynamic there and create a few more chances, but both have done well. BJ has done extremely well in his two starts. Alan always gives us a great effort.”
Arena would not anoint Jamieson as the second coming, however.
“We’ll wait a little time before we are able to summarize him as a player,” Arena cautioned. “He’s still young and learning; every game’s a new challenge for him.
“So we’ll give him a little time before we can analyze him properly.”
Jamieson clearly is enjoying his newfound adulation, however.
“I’ve been working hard, behind the scenes somewhat,” he said. “And it’s time you’ve been preparing for moments like this.”
LA GALAXY vs. COLORADO RAPIDS
STUBHUB CENTER, Carson, Calif.
May 2, 2015 (Week 9, MLS Game #82)
10:30 pm ET (MLS LIVE)
Long-time Western Conference rivals as MLS Originals, the LA Galaxy and the Colorado Rapids renew acquaintances when the clubs face off Saturday evening at StubHub Center. The Galaxy come into the match with a three-game undefeated streak, coming off a 1-1 draw at the New York Red Bulls last weekend. The Rapids also come into the game following a 1-1 draw at the Red Bulls, at midweek, their second consecutive tie.
REFEREE: Fotis Bazakos. AR1 (bench): Frank Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Brian Poeschel; 4th: Kevin Stott; MLS Career: 37 games; FC/gm: 26.3; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 7; pens: 14
WARNINGS: SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: LA: Dan Gargan, Juninho
DISABLED LIST: LA: Brian Perk (season-ending injury)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (65 meetings): Galaxy 34 wins (2 shootout), 104 goals … Rapids 24 wins (1 shootout), 75 goals … Ties 7
AT LA (32 meetings): Galaxy 23 wins (1 shootout), 66 goals … Rapids 7 wins (1 shootout), 30 goals … Ties 2
RETURN MATCH: 7/25: Colorado Rapids vs. LA Galaxy, 7 p.m. MT
- Bradford Jamieson IV scored his first MLS goal, the second-youngest player in LA Galaxy history to hit the back of the net, as the Homegrown Player paced his side to a 1-1 draw at the New York Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon.
- The Galaxy won the final two meetings between the teams a year ago, including a 6-0 triumph on Sept. 5 at StubHub Center, the highest margin of victory in the 19-year history between the teams.
- The Rapids had won back-to-back meetings at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park before a 4-3 Galaxy win there last Aug. 20. The Rapids wins were the first in the series at home since 2008, ending a five-game winless run.