T-180 minutes to kickoff: I really wished that John Denver had never flown planes in the 1990's. Especially after imbibing alcohol, breaking his own vow not to drink again.
Why? Because he would most likely be alive to day, having toured the world 20 times or so, and became a minority owner of the Colorado Rapids, who the Los Angeles Galaxy face tonight at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, located in Commerce City, Colo.
T-170: Seriously. Rest in peace, good sir. I wanted to take the time during this play-by-play (and other miscellany) to talk a little bit about Commerce City. This is a northern suburb of Denver, located in Adams County. In this humble little town of 42,473, a Suncor oil refinery that produces 90,000 barrels of Texas tea juxtaposes with a greyhound racing track.
T-160: The Colorado Rapids used to play their matches at Mile High Stadium before making the trip to Commerce City and undergoing a transformation. Gone were the colors of green, gold and the Inter Milan schemes. Gone were the river and circle logos that dominated their first decade. In was a color scheme of burgundy and blue, relationships with Arsenal FC and CF Pachuca and a fantastic inaugural at Dick's.
T-150: Dick's Sporting Goods was founded by Richard Stack in Binghamton, N.Y. in 1948. It was $300 from his grandmother well spent in opening that first store at the corner of Court Street and Howard Avenue, and whoda thunk that his son, current Chairman and CEO Edward Stack transformed Dick's Sporting Goods into a major sporting goods retailer.
T-140: I will do my own juxtaposition: type this commentary on the match while watching the match and a class lecture at the Keller Graduate School of Management. Not sure if there is an online feed of this match aside from MLSSoccer.com, but I will keep my eyes peeled and my fingers working.
T-120: The lineups.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
Manager: Bruce Arena
Colors: White tops with blue and gold accents, white shorts, white socks
1 Donovan Ricketts
20 A.J. De La Garza ---- 4 Omar Gonzalez ---- 16 Greg Berhalter ---- 2 Todd Dunivant
26 Michael Stephens ---- 11 Chris Birchall ---- 19 Juninho
14 Edson Buddle ---- 21 Alan Gordon ---- 10 Landon Donovan (C)
12 Josh Saunders GK
88 Alex Cazumba DEF
7 Chris Klein MID
27 Bryan Jordan FWD
9 Jovan Kirovski FWD
Manager: Gary Smith
Colors: Burgundy tops with blue accents, white shorts, burgundy socks
18 Matt Pickens
2 Danny Earls ---- 22 Marvell Wynne ---- 21 Julien Baudet ---- 3 Drew Moor
8 Mehdi Ballouchy ---- 25 Pablo Mastroeni (C) ---- 4 Jeff Larentowicz ---- 15 Wells Thompson
9 Conor Casey ---- 14 Omar Cummings
T-110: This is Cinco de Mayo, celebrating the Pyrrhic victory in the Battle of Puebla over the French. For Christ's sakes, the French still were able to defeat the Mexicans, and bring in this guy named Maximilian and his soon-to-be delusional vegetable named Carlota.
T-105: Three years after Maximilian was crowned...he was executed.
T-100: Other matches include DC United vs. Kansas City Wizards, Chivas USA vs. New England Revolution and Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas.
T-90: There will be a tape delay once again on the West Coast. I will do my best to bring it to you live instead.
T-80: Results from the league today: D.C. United get their first win of the season, a 2-1 victory over the Kansas City Wizards and Chivas USA blows apart the New England Revolution 4-0.
FIRST HALF START: 6:38 P.M.
1' - And here we go.
4' - Warning shot by Edson Buddle to open the proceedings tonight. Matt Pickens will not have it easy guarding the net.
5' - Here's Landon Donovan with his first attempt. Ouch, that hit the woodwork. Unlucky. He is still looking for his first of the season, the No. 10 for the G's, the main facilitator.
8' - Colorado on the offensive. This is Omar Cummings. Ricketts, the Big Cat from Montego Bay, with the save.
9' - Set piece time for Mehdi Ballouchy. Attempt for Julien Baudet denied.
10' - Another shot for Edson Buddle. Great defending by the Rapids back line.
11' - Here is Donovan with the corner. Shot for Alan Gordon goes wide left.
14' - Michael Stephens, the rookie, with an attempt on goal. Boy oh boy, the Galaxy are testing Pickens left and right this half.
15' - Conor Casey with the hard challenge. Here is a corner from Donovan. Too high for Omar Gonzalez. Goal kick for Pickens.
16' - I do apologize for the lack of commentary early. I have only been able to get the connection from DeVry after I told the IT department to put by MAC address in the Restricted zone.
17' - But we are now live. Another corner goes is saved by Pickens. Bad shot by Stephens.
18' - Yet another corner. Tenacious defending in the box. Pickens takes that. Swell goatee, too.
19' - We are scoreless early on this match. Not so fast, Pablo Mastroeni. Here is a corner for the Rapids.
20' - Ricketts takes that one. Oh man, that almost cleared the line.
21' - Some arguing after the cheap shot on Donovan. Here we go again, he thinks. Set piece.
21' - GOAL! Los Angeles Galaxy 21 Alan Gordon Assist 10 Landon Donovan
The facilitation continues! Donovan's sixth assist results in Gordon opening his account.
22' - It's a well-timed set piece for Donovan. Here comes Colorado, and the Burgundy and Blue will be looking for the equalizer.
23' - No dice for Conor Casey. There's A.J. De LA Garza marking the leading scorer for the Rapids.
24' - The Rapids face a daunting statistic to buck: they are 0-45-14 when they are a goal down to begin a match. Yikes.
25' - So, ladies and gentlemen, let's see if that's what Colorado will do. Donovan is a bit shaken up but is otherwise all right. Rapids now on the attack. A shot by Omar Cummings goes wide. Goal kick for Donovan Ricketts.
26' - Sparse attendance today. Heh, now there is a new camera angle: the goal-end view.
27' - Throw-in for the Rapids. This Drew Moor. That cross is snuffed out. LA on the transition, but the official calls an offsides.
28' - Colorado is hoping the short passes will reel the G's in. Not so. Here is Todd Dunivant with the throw-in. Offsides Rapids.
29' - Free kick for Dunivant. And that was too far for Edson Buddle. Throw-in for Drew Moor. As you can see, the pace has quickened due to the Rocky Mountain air, shrinking the field a bit.
30' - Yellow Card 8 Mehdi Ballouchy
Not a smart decision by Ballouchy, and even worse, a late tackle by Juninho.
31' - Yellow Card 19 Juninho
Los Angeles Galaxy
Crikey! The ref today wants some of the attention; he is handing off the cards at will tonight.
32' - Colorado on the offensive. Corner conceded. Juninho needed to make amends in a way. Ballouchy to take.
33' - Too high for Baudet. Goal kick.
34' - We are officially 34 minutes into the contest, and it's 1-0 Los Angeles after a 21st minute goal by Alan Gordon, ending the streak of Edson Buddle playing a role in the scoring. More portfolio diversification?
That feed for Casey went wide right. Good idea, bad positioning.
35' - Goal kick for Ricketts. Los Angeles is now on the offensive, but the Rapids back line holds. Here's the transition. Another high shot by Ballouchy, and the frustration mounts. Why not? They are taking on the top dogs in the league.
37' - Here is a goal kick for Ricketts, and the Rapids reset for their next series in their own half.
38' - So we are 38 minutes into the contest, and it's still 1-0 Los Angeles. Poor Omar Cummings. That goes array and over.
39' - Bad challenge on Landon Donovan there on Marvell Wynne.
42' - Big shot for Danny Earls, but it's deflected.
44' - Big chance for Buddle. Oh man, Pickens had to grab that one.
45' - Two minutes of stoppage time. And Pickens stops another one from Buddle.
45' + 2' - Bad luck for Omar Cummings once again.
45' + 2' - One last chance for the Galaxy, and the Rapids are there defensively. That'll do it for the first half.
Los Angeles Galaxy 1
Alan Gordon 21'
Colorado Rapids 0
The Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas are scoreless, so far. I am not getting anything from the lecture at DeVry today. This is why I do not like midweek matches when I have to listen to an annoying, pretentious excuse of a lecture while dealing with an assignment that I do not have a bloody clue of knowing how to complete.
However, this assignment is a different story. Enough of my ranting on this. It's time for the second half.
SECOND HALF START 7:39 P.M.
Substitution Colorado Rapids
IN 11 Colin Clark
OUT 15 Wells Thompson
46' - The second half begins. The Galaxy are now on the offensive. That pass across the grain goes wide right. Goal kick for Pickens.
47' - Curse you, Cinco de Mayo! Here come the Rapids. Good save by Ricketts.
48' - That was an ambitious one-time by Alan Gordon. The Canadian wants that brace. Buddle's already got four of them this year. Ricketts with the grab.
49' - Here we go with a little of the goal-end view. Colorado on the offensive. Too far a pass for Cummings.
50' - Pickens had to clear that offensive salvo by LA. This Galaxy wants to consolidate their lead. FC Dallas now leads Houston 1-0.
51' - Free kick opportunity as Greg Berhalter tugs at Cummings' jersey. Let's see what happens here.
52' - Wide left. Not well-taken by Jeff Larentowicz.
53' - The Rapids will look to equalize off this corner. Cleared. Colorado resets.
54' - Donovan is offsides. Here's Colorado again.
55' - Foul on the Rapids. Unfazed, the home side tries to shake things up. I am a fan of the patience from this club.
56' - Ugo Ihemelu's goal in the 79th minute gave FC Dallas a 1-0 victory over Houston today.
57' - They will be content to do some keeping away before it's the Rapids turn to make their move. A little jarabe tapatio, methinks.
58' - Great defending by the Galaxy back line, and here they go on the transition.
59' - The speed of the Rapids backs neutralizes that possession. Here comes Colorado.
60' - Excellent diving punchout by Donovan Ricketts. His best save of the night by far.
61' - The Galaxy will look to slow down the pace, the Rapids to speed it up.
62' - Substitution Los Angeles Galaxy
IN 9 Jovan Kirovski
OUT 19 Juninho
No pirate beard, just a clean shaven head. Much better from the No. 9.
So we are now over an hour into the match, and it's still 1-0 LA after the 21st minute by Colorado. Drew Moor had to keep his eye on a swivel.
63' - Another great save by Ricketts. Two stops in three minutes...not bad.
64' - That was a bad foul and Greg Berhalter is hurt. Clumsy challenge by Cummings. Free kick for Ricketts.
Yellow Card 14 Omar Cummings
65' - The Galaxy attack is neutralized once again by a staunch Rapids defense.
66' - Buddle with the challenge. Sportsmanlike handshake afterwards. And the beat goes on. Too long for Edson, and Pickens resets for the Rapids, who go on the attack.
67' - Berhalter with the physical challenge on Casey, even though he get the ball as well. It's set piece time.
68' - Again, wide left. This has been the issue of the day for the Rapids. Set piece, wide left. Set piece, wide left. Good gracious, it's like a broke record, isn't it?
69' - That chance for the G's is snapped up by Pickens.
70' - Ricketts is there to take that one. Goal kick.
71' - Substitution Colorado Rapids
IN 7 Claudio Lopez
OUT 8 Medhi Ballouchy
Substitution Los Angeles Galaxy
IN 84 Clint Mathis
OUT 21 Alan Gordon
Bruce Arena looks on with anticipation.
73' - Here's Colorado again, with a golden opportunity...only to be snuffed out by Donovan Ricketts. Not a fan of the dark number and lettering, but oh well.
74' - The marking by the Rapids midfield has kept them in this game. No foul, play on, says the referee.
75' - A blistering one-timer by Buddle goes wide and tastes the side netting.
76' - It seems to me that the Galaxy defense is anticipating the Rapids' system and tendencies. This is great stuff heading into the final 15 minutes. Offsides on Danny Earls.
77' - And here comes another card.
Yellow Card 9 Conor Casey
78' - Oh my goodness. How the bloody heck was that not slotted in. That should be 2-0 right there. Blunder of the night so far.
79' - I love the defense here from the G's back line. They continue to snuff out chance after chance after chance. Foul on the Rapids, and uh oh, looks like Mathis hurt himself a bit. No worries; he is up and back at it.
80' - A.J. De La Garza is feeling a bit winded. Can't wait for this match to end, and I can't blame him. Goal kick for Pickens. Ayayay.
Substitution Los Angeles Galaxy
IN 27 Bryan Jordan
OUT 20 A.J. De La Garza
81' - Ricketts with another scoops, and a here is a throw-in for the Rapids, who are still hoping for a comeback this late in the contest.
82' - Dubious passing right there. Colorado back on the attack.
83' - Casey is wondering, "When the heck are we going to crack this Galaxy defense?" Good question, fellow.
84' - Ricketts will be content to melt this clock. But when you are a mile above sea level, the speed is faster, the pace is quick, and the Galaxy will be wise to not let up this late.
85' - Here come the Rapids once again. Danny Earls couldn't control that ball. Good marking by Bryan Jordan. Goal kick for Donovan Ricketts. He's been getting quite a load of the saves, the Big Cat from Montego Bay.
86' - Donovan has to be a bit displeased, while Arena has to be thinking, "I think they should have done a bit better here." I know both of them are looking at the time and at the action with strong intentions, as is A.J. De La Garza.
87' - I've got nothing but rave reviews about the camera angles.
88' - A few more minutes and stoppage time to go. Still 1-0 to the Galaxy. Transition for Buddle was sniffed and he looked to be hurt for a bit. He gets up. And there is a yellow card for him. Cheeky.
89' - Yellow Card 14 Edson Buddle
Los Angeles Galaxy
90' - Corner for the Rapids. Gonzalez stops that. Here's another. That's wide left. And yet another one. Blimey. Pushed over the top.
90' + 1' - Three minutes additional time. Great defending, but superb marking. Clint Mathis doesn't have the speed like he had before.
90' + 2' - Here's another corner for the Rapids. Ricketts stops that one. He wants the clean sheet.
90' + 3' - And there is yet another save. Amazing. The Rapids have one more chance right here. All hands on deck. Last free kick for the Rapids, and Kirovski is up in arms. High and over. And that is a wrap.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY 1
Alan Gordon 21'
COLORADO RAPIDS 0
Stay tuned for my take on this match on Bleacher Report and the View.