The Galaxy have one of the best attacking pairs in MLS - but won't on Saturday.
Though separated by only four points, the Los Angeles Galaxy and Colorado Rapids find themselves in drastically different postseason situations going into this matchup.
By the time Saturday's game begins, the Rapids (10-8-9) could have a slim hold on the fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference or be in sixth, depending on what happens in the Vancouver-FC Dallas match two hours earlier.
The Galaxy (13-9-4), who could tie Real Salt Lake for the most wins in the league Saturday, have no such worries - except that they're now without their leading duo of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane due to national team commitments.
Both players have had a big hand in Los Angeles going 3-0-1 in its last four. Keane recorded five goals and two assists in that span, while Donovan had five and one.
"We're playing well and are full of confidence," Donovan said. "Everything's clicking, and I think we felt when we had our full team together, this was possible. So we're real happy with how things are going, and we want to keep making a push and try to catch Salt Lake."
Donovan, though, won't be around Saturday to help continue that push, as Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal appear to be the frontrunners to replace he and Keane. McBean and Villarreal have three goals between them.
"We just need to be a little sharper," Villarreal told the team's official site. "Landon and Robbie aren't going to be here so we have to create our own chances."
The players are confident they'll prove to be effective replacements for their high-profile teammates.
"We complement each other well, (McBean) lays off balls (for me), and I give him through balls and crosses. It's a good match," Villarreal said.
The Rapids (10-8-9) have yielded seven goals in their last nine contests, but saw their nine-match unbeaten streak come to an end in a 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City last Saturday.
Edson Buddle, who spent his previous five seasons with the Galaxy, had the Rapids' goal, marking the second straight game in which he scored off the bench.
"When you come off the bench you just want to change the game, you want to add something to the game, and be available for your teammates in the last moments of a game," Buddle said. "Sometimes the opportunity comes your way and (you) just have to take it."
The Rapids will be without Gabriel Torres, who has five shots in his first two MLS games, as he plays for Panama's national team. Torres, Donovan and Chris Wondolowski each had a tournament-high five goals in the Gold Cup.
Colorado hasn't scored in three straight Los Angeles home victories in the series, though the Rapids were responsible for the Galaxy's last loss - 2-0 at Dick's Park on July 27. Dillon Powers had a goal and an assist and Buddle added an assist.
Los Angeles is 25-6-2 at home against Colorado.