COMMERCE CITY, CO - Omar Cummings #14 of the Colorado Rapids battles with Juninho #19 of the Los Angeles Galaxy (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
The Colorado Rapids will face LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center in a match where LA could clinch a playoff berth with a win. The Rapids (10-7-11) will look to keep pace with Real Salt Lake and a crowded Western Conference. LA Galaxy (14-3-10) are currently top spot in the West and are the top team overall within Major League Soccer. The match will be broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel at 9:00 MST.
Colorado had the benefit of a week off after a brutal stretch of league matches that coincided with mid-week CONCACAF Champions League fixtures as well. Before the Rapids lackluster 2-0 loss to Chicago Fire a fortnight ago, the Rocky Mountain Club had an eight-game unbeaten streak that included an important 1-1 draw against Real España in Honduras. However, this is the calm before the storm, as the Rapids will play seven games in a 23-day stretch in all competitions.
Colorado will have to cope without one of its best defenders as Drew Moor will not feature due to yellow-card accumulation. The one-game suspension will officially end the Texan native's MLS record for an outfield player of 69 straight appearances in MLS matches. According to the injury report, Anthony Wallace is out with a knee sprain. Look for Scott Palguta to potentially be inserted at Left Back. Kosuke Kimura should feature on the right side, and look for Marvell Wynne and Tyrone Marshall to anchor the central defense.
Jeff Larentowicz has had a busy international break as the defensive midfielder trained with the United States National Team and featured for the Yanks in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday. The "ginger ninja" should start alongside Pablo Mastroeni with Brian Mullan and Wells Thompson possibly on the flanks. All of the first-team forwards should be rested and ready for action.
The major question is how many starters will feature for Colorado as the club will host Mexican side Santos Laguna in CONCACAF Champion's League play on Tuesday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Colorado is currently at the summit of Group B with 4 points from two matches. However, Santos Laguna and Isidro Metapán both have 3 points from two matches. Since Real Salt Lake leap-frogged Colorado in the Western Conference on the weekend, it is likely that Gary Smith will feature a strong starting XI tonight against LA Galaxy.
Prediction: The last time the Rapids visited the Home Depot Center, they came from behind to record a 3-1 victory against a strong Galaxy side late last season. LA has a potent attack with Landon Donovan and Ireland international and former Tottenham Hotspur striker Robbie Kean. David Beckham is always dangerous on set-pieces and the Rapids will also have to keep their eye on Sean Franklin, who netted two goals in LA's 2-2 draw with Sporting KC on Monday. Due to Colorado's rest, and LA coming off a frustrating draw just four days ago, look for the Rapids to win 2-1 in Carson, California.