Rapids score late to edge Galaxy

Rapids score late to edge Galaxy

Greg Vanney was the last man to reach the Galaxy bench before Tuesday’s game with the Colorado Rapids. And when he got there, he found Rapids coach Robin Fraser waiting for him.

The two old friends turned foes hardly needed an introduction.

Fraser was drafted fourth overall by the Galaxy in the inaugural MLS player draft, Vanney was taken 17th in the first college draft. They spent the next five years playing side by side on the team’s back line.

When Fraser was named manager of Chivas USA in 2011, he made Vanney his top assistant. When Vanney was named manager at Toronto, he made Fraser his assistant coach.

“As a young player, I just shut up and listened and I tried to take in information,” Vanney said of Fraser. “He was always a cerebral player, always a hard-nosed player. Always very clear on what he wants in a moment and how he’s going to deal with situations.”

The ex-teammates, rarities in a league in which fewer than half of the managers are former MLS players, were separated Tuesday by about 40 yards of grass along the west sideline at Dignity Health Sports Park. They ended the night even closer in the Western Conference standings after a header from second-half substitute Andre Shinyashiki gave the Rapids a 2-1 win, snapping the Galaxy’s season-best four-game unbeaten streak.

Both teams are rebuilding under their new coaches. The Galaxy (11-7-2), who have made the playoffs just once since 2016, are third in the Western Conference table in their first season under Vanney. Colorado (10-4-4), which made its only postseason appearance since 2016 last year in Fraser’s first full season, are one point back in fourth.

“Robin’s done a really good job with that group,” Vanney said of the Rapids, who finished with a winning record for the first time in four seasons last year. “The results they’ve been able to achieve speak for themselves.”

The results Tuesday didn’t speak to the game with the Galaxy, in the middle of a stretch that will see them play three times in seven days, dominating in time of possession and outshooting Colorado 20-15. They had their depth tested as well when forward Kévin Cabral was scratched with a low-grade hamstring strain before kickoff and defender Sega Coulibaly left with a possible concussion with four minutes left in a physical first half.

Cabral was the only player to score in the team’s last two games and with him joining a crowd of 15,101 in watching from the stands, the Galaxy fell behind for the first time since July 24 when Colorado’s Jonathan Lewis buried a penalty kick in the 13th minute.

Lewis drew the penalty after being toppled by a Rayan Raveloson hip check in the 18-yard box and though referee Silviu Petrescu originally called for a corner kick, he correctly reversed himself and awarded the penalty after consulting a video replay.

Lewis nearly doubled the lead in the 20th minute when he rounded Galaxy keeper Jonathan Bond and poked a shot at the open net that Julian Araujo stopped, allowing Bond to scramble back and collect the loose ball. That allowed Raveloson to tie the score with a right-footed volley from just outside the penalty area in the 34th minute, the Galaxy’s first goal from outside the box this season.

But when the Galaxy couldn’t get another, Fraser made the move that helped win it for the Rapids, sending Shinyashiki on for Mark-Anthony Kaye in the 72nd minute.

A minute later Shinyashiki’s header off a corner kick beat Bond at the far post, extending Colorado’s unbeaten streak against the Galaxy to five games dating to 2017.

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