Win all your games at home, and do what you can on the road. Win all your games at home, and do what you can on the road. Win all your games at home, and do what you can on the road.
That was the ticket, wasn't it? We've been saying that since the start of August, as our one biggest key to making the playoff race easier. Oscar Pareja approached the LA Galaxy match on Saturday night with what looked like that idea in mind, playing his patent-pending 'big 'n' tough' lineup with Edson Buddle, Atiba Harris and Nick Labrocca playing up top. With no Gabriel Torres and Deshorn Brown earning a well deserved day off, Pareja looked like he was looking for a point.
Fortunately, Colorado came out rather strong to get the game started, foreshadowing what would end up being a very fun to watch ping-pong battle. The midfield was back at their usual tricks after a terrible showing against Sporting Kansas City. Possession and shots were fairly even for the entire match, though Clint Irwin was probably the man of the match for the Rapids in the first half. (He had fabulous saves on both Jack McBean and Marcelo Sarvas before the half was over.)
There were no goals until the 75th minute, when Edson Buddle reminded us that he is currently hot. Todd Dunivant lost the ball in a dangerous area, which left Vicente Sanchez open for a run. Flanked by several defenders, he dumped it off to Edson Buddle and Buddle had one of the nicest looking goals he's ever scored, a rocket from outside the box that nestled wonderfully into the top corner.
That would be the end of the scoring, with Colorado earning their 10th clean sheet of the season thanks to some spirited late defending to keep the Galaxy out. It's a huge three points on the road, especially with plenty of other results coming in the Western Conference.
By the way, guess what happened the last time that the Rapids got a win in Los Angeles during a tight playoff race?