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MLS Playoffs 1st Leg: LA Galaxy Edge Past Colorado Rapids 1-0

Giovani dos Santos LA Galaxy
Giovani dos Santos celebrates his game winning goal vs Colorado Rapids 10/30/2016. Photo by Jorge Galvez. The Stoppage Time.

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).

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.

LA Galaxy Team Photo 10/30/2016. Photo by Jorge Galvez. The Stoppage Time

LA Galaxy Team Photo 10/30/2016. Photo by Jorge Galvez. The Stoppage Time

 

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.

Colorado Rapids Team Photo 10/30/2016. Photo by Jorge Galvez. The Stoppage Time

Colorado Rapids Team Photo 10/30/2016. Photo by Jorge Galvez. The Stoppage Time

 

How it all played out:

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Analysis:

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.

Tim Howard vs LA Galaxy 10/30/2016. Photo by Jorge Galvez. The Stoppage Time

Tim Howard vs LA Galaxy 10/30/2016. Photo by Jorge Galvez. The Stoppage Time

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.

Gio dos Santos vs Colorado Rapids 10/30/2016. Photo by Jorge Galvez. The Stoppage Time.

Gio dos Santos vs Colorado Rapids 10/30/2016. Photo by Jorge Galvez. The Stoppage Time.

Unsung Heroes:

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.

Jelle Van Damme vs Colorado Rapids 10/30/2016. Photo by Jorge Galvez. The Stoppage Time.

Jelle Van Damme vs Colorado Rapids 10/30/2016. Photo by Jorge Galvez. The Stoppage Time.

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).

Sebastian Lletget vs Colorado Rapids 10/30/2016. Photo by Jorge Galvez. The Stoppage Time.

Sebastian Lletget vs Colorado Rapids 10/30/2016. Photo by Jorge Galvez. The Stoppage Time.

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.

Looking Ahead:

Bruce Arena hinted that Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane might be in the starting lineup in the second leg at Colorado, but stopped short of giving any certainty.

Bruce Arena of the LA Galaxy 10/30/2016. Photo by Jorge Galvez. The Stoppage Time

Bruce Arena of the LA Galaxy 10/30/2016. Photo by Jorge Galvez. The Stoppage Time

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.

Keep it right here on The Stoppage Time, powered by Azteca Soccer, for more world football news. Stay connected on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and subscribe to our YouTube page.

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