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MLS PLAYOFFS / Galaxy vs. Colorado Rapids

October 17, 1999|GRAHAME L. JONES

* When: Today, 4:30 p.m., Game 1 of the best-of-three Western Conference semifinals.

* Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena.

* Schedule: Game 2 Oct. 24, Mile High Stadium, Denver (Noon PDT, ESPN). Game 3, if necessary, Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m., Rose Bowl.

HOW THEY MATCH UP

GOALKEEPERS

Kevin Hartman played all 32 games for the Galaxy and led the league with the lowest goals-against average in MLS history at 0.91 per game. Ian Feuer, who took over as the Rapids' starter when Marcus Hahnemann was sold to a team in England, finished with a 10-9 record and was sixth in MLS with a 1.22 goals-against average.

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DEFENDERS

The Galaxy back line of Ezra Hendrickson, Paul Caligiuri, Robin Fraser and Greg Vanney, supported by defensive midfielder Danny Pena and sometimes featuring Steve Jolley, led the league by giving up only 29 goals. Colorado's defense set a club record with 12 shutouts, but gave up 39 goals.

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MIDFIELDERS

Mauricio Cienfuegos is the Galaxy's puppet master, pulling the strings that make the team dance. His ability to rebound from a worse-than-disappointing weekend with El Salvador's national team will be the key. Andres Limpar is the Rapids' playmaker, and Los Angeles' success in shutting him down might well determine the outcome of the game. Edge: None.

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FORWARDS

The Galaxy probably will leave injured Carlos Hermosillo on the bench, calling upon him only if necessary. That leaves it up to Cobi Jones, Clint Mathis and others to provide the goals. For Colorado, Paul Bravo, Jorge Dely Valdes and Wolde Harris can only cross their fingers and hope their scoring drought ends.

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STATISTICALLY

The Galaxy leads the series, 11-5, and is 7-1 against the Rapids at the Rose Bowl.

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