Rapids-Galaxy Preview

The Los Angeles Galaxy are on the verge of winning their first

Supporters’ Shield in eight seasons, while the Colorado Rapids are

close to securing their first postseason berth in four years.

Both clubs will try to clear up the playoff picture Saturday

night when they meet at The Home Depot Center.

Coming off back-to-back road wins, Los Angeles (17-6-5) begins

its final homestand of the regular season needing one victory in

its last two games to clinch home-field advantage throughout the


The Galaxy, who lead Real Salt Lake by four points, could also

clinch their first Supporters’ Shield since 2002 with a tie and a

loss or draw by RSL against FC Dallas on Saturday.

“Let’s be fair, it could go down to the end,” coach Bruce Arena

told the Galaxy’s official website. “We can control our destiny

with a win. If we win, it’s done.”

Looking to make their first playoff appearance since 2006, the

Rapids (11-8-9) would clinch the eighth and final spot with a win

or tie, or if Kansas City doesn’t win at New England earlier

Saturday night.

“(The postseason) is very much in our court, and the players

realize that,” coach Gary Smith told the Rapids’ official web site.

“The future is what we want it to be at this point – our own

performance and adding points to what has already been a good

season tally is in our own hands.”

Colorado, 0-4-5 on the road since a 1-0 victory against

MLS-worst D.C. United on May 15, will face a Galaxy club that is

4-1-0 since midfielder David Beckham returned from a torn left

Achilles’ tendon suffered while playing for AC Milan in March.

Beckham recorded his first assist of the season on a corner kick

in a 1-0 victory at Philadelphia on Oct. 7, setting up Edson

Buddle’s career-high and MLS-leading 16th goal.

“Once I get playing I feel good,” Beckham said. “It’s still

going to take a while to get match fitness, but I’m definitely


While Beckham has provided a boost to a Galaxy offense led by

Buddle and Landon Donovan, the league leader with 14 assists,

goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts has been equally important to Los

Angeles’ success.

With three saves in the victory against the Union, Ricketts tied

Kevin Hartman’s single-season franchise record with his 11th clean


“It would feel special if I had a record and we win a

championship,” Ricketts said. “You play to win championships. If we

don’t win a championship, that record means nothing.”

Goalie Matt Pickens has helped the Rapids hold opponents to 29

goals this season. The team record is 32, set in 2004.

Los Angeles is 19-5-2 all-time at home against Colorado, but

Conor Casey’s hat trick helped the Rapids win their last visit to

Carson, Calif., 3-2 on April 4, 2009.