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LA Galaxy narrowly defeat Colorado Rapids in first leg

Dos Santos goal gives LA a slim advantage heading to Colorado

MLS: Conference Semifinals-Colorado Rapids at Los Angeles Galaxy Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The LA Galaxy narrowly defeated the Colorado Rapids 1-0 Sunday afternoon in the first leg of the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Western Conference semifinals.

Bruce Arena kept the same starting eleven that starred in last week’s knockout round victory vs. Real Salt Lake.

The Rapids started off the brighter side however, with striker Dominic Badji first getting on the end of a header in the box then minutes later ripping a shot inside the area, but neither were successful.

In the 22nd minute, Sebastian Lletget beat Axel Sjoberg to the ball and glided around the center back for a breakaway, but Tim Howard came up big to stone Lletget’s low attempt.

The match was a cagy affair as two organized sides struggled to break each other down. Colorado’s back four of March Burch, Axel Sjoberg, Jared Watts and Eric Miller were excellent, as they have been all season.

And yet, LA finally broke Colorado down in the 55th minute,

Isolated vs. Michael Ariza on the left side of the box, Jelle Van Damme brilliantly nutmegged Ariza before squaring to Giovani dos Santos from close range, and Gio’s header deflected off the unfortunate noggin of Sjoberg before careening into the right corner of the net.

Colorado fired right back away with substitute Jermaine Jones ripping a shot from distance Brian Rowe had to dive full stretch to parry away.

The Rapids had several half-chances late, but LA held on to preserve the slim lead as LA head to Colorado.