Just three months ago, the Colorado Rapids were one of the top clubs in the Western Conference and the Los Angeles Galaxy were just starting to find their footing.
The longtime rivals have since moved in completely different directions.
The Galaxy will be without leading scorer Robbie Keane as they go for their longest winning streak in seven years Friday night against the visiting Rapids, who hope to avoid the worst losing skid in franchise history.
While Colorado was tied for the second-most victories in the West with a 6-4-3 record through June 1, Los Angeles got off to an up-and-down start at 2-3-3 before beginning to build some momentum in late May.
The Rapids (8-12-6), however, have enjoyed little success since that promising start, going 2-8-3 over the past three months. Still, they're just four points back of the final playoff spot despite being mired in a franchise record-tying, six-game losing streak.
Colorado, seventh in the West, fell to 0-8-2 on the road since April 26 with a 1-0 defeat at Seattle on Saturday.
"We are seeing steady improvements from such a young team, but we are making it difficult for ourselves to stay afloat in the playoff race," coach Pablo Mastroeni told the team's official website.
Saturday's loss marked the first time in four matches Mastroeni's club didn't surrender at least three goals. Colorado's 40 goals allowed are second-most in the West.
Deshorn Brown has a team-high eight goals after scoring six in his last 12 matches and four in his last six on the road. The Jamaican forward, however, is scoreless in five career games against the Galaxy.
Los Angeles (13-5-7), meanwhile, has soared up the table with an 11-2-4 record since May 21, moving into sole possession of second place - five points behind the MLS-best Sounders.
The Galaxy are riding a four-game win streak - they haven't had a longer one since 2007 - after taking down rival Chivas USA 3-0 on Sunday behind Gyasi Zardes' two goals off assists from Landon Donovan. Los Angeles leads the league in goals scored (48) and fewest allowed (27).
"The last four games you feel you can beat anybody," midfielder Marcelo Sarvas said. "It's mix of a lot of things, but for sure I think everyone is confident and steps on field with the right mentality."
Keane added his team-high 14th goal versus Chivas, but he is with Ireland's national team and will not play Friday.
The Galaxy also will start Brian Rowe or Brian Perk in goal for Jaime Penedo, who is with the Panamanian national team.
Los Angeles has outscored opponents 27-10 during an 8-0-3 stretch at home and is 22-7-2 all-time there versus Colorado.
The Galaxy snapped a three-game skid overall in the series with a 4-3 road win Aug. 20. Donovan's winner in the 80th minute capped Los Angeles' rally from an early two-goal deficit.
- Sports & Recreation
- Colorado Rapids
- Los Angeles Galaxy
- Los Angeles
- Robbie Keane