Photo by USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
In what will likely be his final appearance on the field in Colorado, Landon Donovan created yet another special moment.
The 32-year old forward netted the go-ahead goal Wednesday in the 80th minute, capping off a two-goal comeback that saw the LA Galaxy top the Colorado Rapids, 4-3, at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
The U.S. Men’s National Team legend demonstrated the timing and creativity that have defined his career, as Donovan cut through the Rapids defense into space to receive a pass from Galaxy forward Robbie Keane. Donovan took one touch to get around Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin and finished into a wide open net, earning the Galaxy three crucial points as the club enters its playoff push.
Despite coming away with a loss, the Rapids left with a positive talking point as 20-year-old Marlon Hairston opening the night’s scoring in the 13th minute in his first career Major League Soccer goal.
Forward Edson Buddle kickstarted the Rapids attack by playing a long-distance lobbed through ball into the path of Deshorn Brown, who received the pass near the top of the box. Brown then cut past a defender before firing on goal with a rebound off Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo falling into the path of Hairston, who ultimately pounced to give his side the lead.
Buddle picked up a goal of his own just five minutes later in what was the 100th goal of the 33-year-old’s career. Buddle, who had two previous stints with the Galaxy prior to joining the Rapids in 2013, rose above the Galaxy defense to smash home a header off a Dillon Powers corner to double the Rapids lead.
The visitors pulled a goal back in the 20th minute, as Keane scored a header of his own to pull the score to 2-1. With midfielder Dan Gargan playing distributor, the Irishman found himself unmarked on the back post for a cross, which he proceeded to head across the net and into the far corner.
The goalscoring bonanza continued into the 30th minute, with Rapids fullback Marc Burch scoring a goal-of-the-week contender on a missile of a free kick. With the ball positioned well outside the Galaxy box, Burch put his foot right through the ball, which smashed into the crossbar and past Peneda for the Rapids’ third goal.
Once again, the Galaxy were able to cut the lead to one, with the visitors’ second finish coming via the head of Gonzalez, who rose up to win an uncontested header directly in front of Irwin, who was left helpless as the Galaxy pushed the score to 3-2.
With the Rapids holding on to the lead in the 68th minute, it was Alan Gordon, who made his Galaxy return just nine days ago but provided the equalizer by finishing with a left-footed shot off a Gonzalez headed pass in the box.
Gordon’s finish paved the way for Donovan, who converted with just ten minutes remaining to earn his side all three points.
With the victory, the Galaxy pull within two points of third place FC Dallas with two extra games to play.
The Galaxy now face a short week, as Donovan and company play host to fourth-placed Vancouver Whitecaps Saturday. Meanwhile, the Rapids, who remain just three points out of a playoff position despite four straight losses, will look to make up ground Aug. 30 when the team heads to CenturyLink Field to take on the Seattle Sounders.
Watch the match highlights below: