The LA Galaxy head to Commerce City, Colorado needing to hold to a 1-0 advantage in order to move into the Western Conference Final.
Giovani dos Santos’ deflected goal in the 55th minute of the first leg has given the Galaxy plenty to hold onto at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, but it would be hard not to be concerned that, in a setting in which the Colorado Rapids have been so dominant, their opponent has the quality to get the result they need.
The Rapids have been far stronger defensively at home than on the road. In this MLS regular season, the Rapids conceded a league-low seven goals and went undefeated through the course of the season.
Theoretically, though, the Galaxy don’t need win the match to progress. It is the case that the Rapids are not as good scoring than they are defending, and down a goal, Pablo Mastroeni’s side will effectively be forced to attack. As they push men forward, the Galaxy may find the space to score the away goal that sends them through.
Indeed, the Galaxy certainly have the attacking options and quality to get that crucial goal. While Robbie Keane has been struggling with injuries this season, Giovani dos Santos has repeatedly impressed. To an extent, Alan Gordon has also stepped up, and there is a nice mix of pace and experience on the wing with Emmanuel Boateng and Landon Donovan.
With a defeat and without an away goal, the Rapids are in an unfamiliar position. It is up to the Galaxy now to take advantage and move one step closer to another MLS Cup Final.
LA Galaxy 1-0 Colorado Rapids - October 30, 2016 - MLS Conference Semifinals, Game 1
Giovani dos Santos scored off a deflected header to give the Galaxy a 1-0 advantage heading into the second leg.
LA Galaxy (4-2-3-1): Rowe; Rogers, Steres, Van Damme, Cole; Lletget, Husidic; Donovan, dos Santos, Boateng; Gordon
Colorado Rapids (4-2-3-1): Howard; Miller, Watts, Sjoberg, Burch; Jones, Azira; Badji, Hairston, Gashi; Doyle