Ahead of the first leg of the Western Conference semi-finals, take a look at three things to watch for as the LA Galaxy face off against the Colorado Rapids.
Breaking down the Rapids defense
The Colorado Rapids defense finished top of the league in fewest goals allowed. Throughout 34 league matches, the Rapids back line gave up only 32 goals; the next closest was the Galaxy at 39.
Earlier in the season, LA did have trouble trying to navigate through the stingy defense. For 180 minutes, the Galaxy could not find a way to break them down, as they lost 1-0 (thanks to a 90th minute goal from Marco Pappa) and drew 0-0. Their first goal came in June, when Giovani dos Santos leveled the score 11 minutes after Shkelzen Gashi opened the scoring in the 51st minute.
If the Galaxy are able to nab a couple of goals at home, that will be a big boost for them heading into the second leg.
For first time in several weeks, the squad is close to returning to full health. On Wednesday night, Robbie Keane came on for Alan Gordon, who took a slight knock and was removed merely as a precaution, and played 38 minutes.
Steven Gerrard is also reportedly fit enough to play this weekend as well. How much will he play? Will he even play? Those are the two big questions. But, does Bruce Arena mess with the starting XI, especially after how well they played on Wednesday night?
After securing a huge win over Real Salt Lake during the middle of the week, the Galaxy have to keep the momentum going. They cannot afford any slip up, stating the obvious, especially at this stage.
Should the Galaxy continue to play how the did on Wednesday night, there is no telling how far this team can go.
The only question mark in the starting XI that could be changed is Robbie Rogers. Rogers did not have the best of games, and looked a little out of his depth. Does AJ replace him? If so, that could be the final piece of the puzzle moving forward.
The first leg of the Western Conference semi-finals kicks off at 2:00 PM PST and will be shown on ESPN.