To get through the second leg of their Western Conference Semifinals, the Galaxy has to deal with their No. 1 nemesis.
Tim Howard? The Colorado defense? Sure, they’re both concerns, but for the Galaxy, how
it deals with the altitude will determine how things go Sunday afternoon.
“Right now, we have a 1-0 lead and we know it is going to be tough,” Galaxy defender Jelle Van Damme said. “This is going to be my second time. I struggled (the first time) after 20-30 minutes, so we have to be prepared, rest our body and just deal with it.”
The Galaxy’s first trip to Colorado this season (Mar.12) was Van Damme’s first time playing at altitude. .
“They told me it was going to be tough,” he said of that first game. “I thought it was just a mental thing, but it came true.”
Colorado went undefeated during the regular season (11-0-6). One of those victories came against the Galaxy (1-0) on March 12.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena is no stranger to dealing with altitude, whether in Colorado or Mexico City with the U.S. national team.
Is there an easy way to prepare? The Galaxy is scheduled to arrive in Colorado Saturday, a day before the game, which has been reported could lessen the impact that the altitude could have on a team.
“There’s not a whole lot you can do,” Arena said. “Make sure your team is hydrated. If you’re fit, you can deal with it. The fitter you are, the better you’re able to cope with it.
“I’ve done this for years, talking to specialists on altitude, getting the U.S. team ready for Mexico City …nobody knows. The only way to acclimated to altitude is to live there and to live there for three weeks or so in Denver, three months in Mexico City …nobody knows.”
Galaxy fans can watch the second leg of the Western Conference semifinal against the Colorado Rapids that kicks off at 11 a.m. Sunday on the largest video screen in MLS from the newly-renovated Stadium Club at StubHub Center.
From the Galaxy press release:
Doors for the watch party will open at 10 a.m. for the 11 a.m. kickoff, with free parking available for all guests in attendance.
There will be various food options featured, with drink specials available for guests, including $2 beers, $5 Bloody Marys, $5 mimosas, coffee and soft drinks. The watch party will feature various prizes and giveaways for fans, with Cozmo and the LA Galaxy Star Squad set to be in attendance. Fans will also have the opportunity to take photographs with all five of the LA Galaxy’s MLS Cup trophies, which will be inside the Stadium Club. In addition to the LA Galaxy-Colorado Rapids match on GalaxyTV, there will also be NFL games shown on televisions inside the Stadium Club.
The Galaxy lead the two-game, aggregate score series 1-0.
Here is a recap and second leg schedule
Montreal 1, New York 0: Matteo Mancosu’s goal in the 61st minute led the Impact to victory.
Up next: Montreal at New York, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
Galaxy 1, Colorado 0: Giovani dos Santos scored in the 55th minute to lead the Galaxy to the 1-0 home victory.
Up next: Galaxy at Colorado, 11 a.m. (ESPN)
Toronto FC 2, New York City FC 0: Jozy Altidore scored in the 84th minute and Tosaint Ricketts added another in the 92 minute for TFC.
Up next: Toronto FC at New York City FC, 3:30 p.m. (FS1)
Seattle 3, FC Dallas 0: In perhaps the biggest shock of the first leg, the Sounders erupted for three goals in an eight-minute span to take the victory. Nelson Valdez scored in the 50th minute and Nicolas Lodeiro scored in the 55th and 58th minute.
Up next: Seattle at FC Dallas, 6 p.m. (FS1)
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) October 28, 2016
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It was good to see the Galaxy rouse themselves from their wretched form of late led by an inspirational performance by live wire Emmanuel Boateng, who scored two impressive goals in the playoff knockout game Wednesday at Stubhub Center against Real Salt Lake.
But the Galaxy were done no favors by the timing of the game.
The Galaxy wraps up the regular season Sunday against FC Dallas. While the game means a lot for FC Dallas (they’re in the hunt for the Supporters’ Shield), things are the opposite for the Galaxy.
Bruce Arena that the lineup that he sends out will have a different look.
“Clearly, we’ll play a few different players, how many remains to be seen,” he said Wednesday.
Three players we will likely not see are Robbie Keane (hip flexor), Steven Gerrard (hamstring) and Gyasi Zardes (foot). Keane and Gerrard stayed behind and didn’t make the trip to Houston last week. Zardes has been rehabbing from his foot surgery.
“They’re making progress,” Arena said. “When they’re able to get back in remains to be seen.”
By no means was it pretty, but it was memorable and just enough for the Galaxy.
Alan Gordon’s 72nd minute goal snapped a scoreless tie and proved to be enough to give the Galaxy a 1-0 victory on the road over Houston. The Galaxy caught a huge break on the goal with Houston defender David Horst actually playing the ball into Gordon’s direction.
The goal came on Gordon’s 35th birthday.
They all count… pic.twitter.com/WBJKZ6U9Il
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) October 16, 2016
With the victory, the Galaxy improves to 51 points. They remain in third place and clinches a home match in the knockout round (Oct. 26 or 27).
The true answer probably won’t be available until at least after today’s game at Houston (2 p.m.; Spectrum SportsNet). The Galaxy begins today in third place in the Western Conference on 48 points. There is the possibility that the club could end the day in fifth place.
If the Galaxy can clinch either third or fourth place, then they will host the knockout round game. If they’re fifth or sixth, then it is on the road as was the case last year.
“I don’t think we’ve lost any confidence,” Galaxy defender Daniel Steres said. “I think it helped having these two weeks to regroup, sort some things out, get together as a team and decide where we want to be in the next few months.”
To complicate matters, the Galaxy encountered travel issues out of LAX Saturday, with their plan being delayed several times.
Today is big.
Game day links: