It was a tense afternoon at the StubHub Center.
Observers knew coming into this match that it was most likely going to finish 1-0 (Or at least we did).
Aaaaand we’re off! This game has 1-0 written all over it #LAvCOL
— The Stoppage Time (@thestoppagetime) October 30, 2016
LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena decided to not mess with a good thing and kept the same starting 11 that beat Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.
The Rapids and head coach Pablo Mastroeni came into the game having missed out on the Supporters Shield by just two points due to their 1-1 tie with Houston Dynamo in their season finale.
How it all played out:
As can be seen in the highlights, the Galaxy dominated proceedings, however it is concerning that they only have the one goal to show for it.
Some of it was Tim Howard, but most of it was the Galaxy missing that final pass and not being clinical enough in front of goal. There was the controversial decision by referee Drew Fischer to not let play continue for the Galaxy in the 12th minute that would have ended up in an Alan Gordon goal. Fans have to wonder how different the game may have looked with that early goal for the home side.
Gio dos Santos might have stole the headlines with his 55th minute game winning goal, but it was a pair of other players who were the keys to victory. Gio struggled all night to find space against the high press of the Rapids. However, he worked extremely hard defensively and with talent like his; Dos Santos is always a danger.
Jelle Van Damme and Sebastian Lletget were the two best performers on the night. Van Damme who created the Dos Santos goal after he nutmegged Micheal Azira before finding Dos Santos head. Van Damme’s play was more reminiscent of a box-to-box midfielder with his penchant for getting forward.
Lletget worked tirelessly throughout the game and seemed to cover the most ground out of all the players. Lletget miraculously led the team in touches on the ball (97) with a passing accuracy of 91.3% and he along with Van Damme led the team with tackles (3).
The Rapids were the team that was lauded for all of their defensive prowess but it may have been the Galaxy that were the better defensive team as a whole. The Galaxy allowed only one shot on target the entire night.
The mentality in the locker room was a positive one as should be expected for the Galaxy. The goal is clear to the players, they have a huge test ahead but want to get a goal early and force the Rapids out of their defensive shell.
It will be a shell that is nearly impenetrable at home (conceded 7 goals all year). However, the Galaxy are bringing the heavy artillery and with the Galaxy defense just as stingy, we should expect another 1-0 affair.