COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) The Colorado Rapids have turned around their season.
Quite a change from June 23 when they were 5-7-5, in the midst of a painful slide.
“We kept putting in hard work and kept believing in what we are doing in our training,” Colorado coach Oscar Pareja said. “The most important thing is the group is convinced and committed with the club.”
Hendry Thomas scored in the 41st minute and the Rapids shut out the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0 Saturday.
Dillon Powers added a goal and an assist for Colorado (9-7-7). The Rapids beat the Galaxy for the first time in seven meetings and had been 0-5-1 over that span.
Colorado is unbeaten, 4-0-2 in its past six games after going through a 0-4-1 stretch.
“This team knows that no one is bigger than the club and they play as a team,” Pareja said. “That is the key.”
Thomas found space between two defenders when Powers lined up for a corner kick. Powers put the ball right on the head of Thomas, whose header sailed past goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini.
“Dillon has given us so much in his area of the field,” Pareja said. “I thought he has really matured.”
Los Angeles (10-9-3) was looking for its fifth win in seven matches. The Galaxy were shut out for the sixth time this season in falling to 1-6-0 in their past seven road games.
“We played very well in the first half,” Los Angeles coach Bruce Arena said. “We had a mental lapse for the goal. That was it.”
Colorado added a goal in the 47th minute when Edson Buddle found Powers in stride just over the midfield stripe. Cudicini came out to stop the shot, but Powers got the ball under the lunge of Cudicini.
The Galaxy were without Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane. Donovan missed his fifth straight game due to service with the U.S. national team while Keane sat out with a left hip flexor strain suffered the previous weekend.
Hector Jimenez found an opening in the 15th minute, but fired a shot over the crossbar for Los Angeles.
Juninho barely missed with a shot from 30 yards in the 22nd minute. His shot grazed the left post.
Irwin caught a shot from the left wing by Todd Dunivant at the close of the half in added time.
Referee Juan Guzman issued three yellow cards in the first half.
Thomas drew a yellow card for upending Juninho in the ninth minute. Thomas will serve his second suspension of the season when the team plays Aug. 3 against Real Salt Lake.
Juninho and former Colorado midfielder Pablo Mastroeni received theirs moments apart after disputing non calls. Juninho was hauled down by Shane O’Neill in the 30th minute.
The Galaxy didn’t test Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin. Irwin produced his eighth shutout of the season.
“That goal at the end of the half was unacceptable,” L.A. forward Gyasi Zardes said. “Our team is better than that and we will bounce back when we play again.”