Few members of the Galaxy want to get back to the MLS Cup final more than goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts does. That’s because few members of the Galaxy have more unfinished business.
The second-year keeper went to the sideline because of a hand injury midway through the second half of last year’s final, which Real Salt Lake won in the seventh round of a dramatic penalty shootout.
Could he have changed the outcome?
“They probably would have just blamed me for allowing the goal,” Ricketts said with a smile.
But his chance at redemption hit a bump in the road Saturday when the Colorado Rapids surprised the Galaxy, 3-1, at the Home Depot Center. That result cost the Galaxy a chance to wrap up the Supporters’ Shield, which goes to the team with Major League Soccer’s best regular-season record and confers home-field advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Whether that proves to be an opportunity delayed or one denied won’t be known until next week. The Galaxy, a point up in the standings heading into the final weekend, can still claim the shield if Real Salt Lake loses or ties its final match next Saturday or the Galaxy wins or draws in its season finale Sunday.
What’s certain, however, is that the Galaxy’s postseason won’t last long if it plays like it did for most of Saturday’s game.
“I didn’t think we played a bad game tonight. But we were certainly punished for our mistakes,” said Coach Bruce Arena, whose team put nearly twice as many shots on goal as Colorado on the night, and four times as many in the first half.
Yet while they pressured Colorado keeper Matt Pickens, they got just one shot past him when Edson Buddle scored his league-best 17th goal in the ninth minute.
Credit that failing as much to poor shot selection from the Galaxy as to the Colorado defense, though Buddle and the Galaxy did lose two goals