Guillermo Barros Schelotto is delighted to have Javier Hernandez and Jonathan dos Santos back in contention but recognizes the duo cannot play every LA Galaxy game in the coming weeks.
Hernandez suffered a calf injury at the MLS is Back Tournament, while Dos Santos was absent from the competition in Orlando due to hernia surgery.
But the two Mexico internationals each appeared off the bench for the final 33 minutes in the draw with San Jose Earthquakes last week, with Dos Santos a regular substitute in the past month.
The duo are fitter still heading into a home game against Colorado Rapids, but Schelotto is keen to manage their minutes.
“We will talk (on Friday) about what we are going to do and then decide for Saturday and the next games,” the coach said.
“We play Wednesday and Sunday, two games that are very important against Real Salt Lake and Seattle, so we will decide, but they are getting better.
“They played in the game with San Jose 30 minutes. I think now they are ready for more minutes because they were training all week and they are better than last weekend.
“But it will be difficult to have them in the three games in the next week, so we have to decide what is best for the team.”
The Rapids are coming off the back of a 4-1 midweek defeat at Dallas, just days on from their own big 5-0 win over Real Salt Lake.
Coach Robin Fraser said: “It’s funny how it works, isn’t it? You come off a big win and you’d like a long stretch to enjoy that feeling.
“But you come off a loss and you’re pretty happy that you have to turn around and do it again pretty quickly.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
LA Galaxy – Javier Hernandez
The Galaxy have continued an impressive run in their striker’s absence thanks to fine work from Cristian Pavon and Sebastian Lletget, but they must get Hernandez firing if they are to be genuine contenders in this league. This is a big week for the former Manchester United man.
Colorado Rapids – Diego Rubio
In a tough 2020 season, Rubio had just enjoyed his best game so far with two goals and an assist against RSL as he headed to Dallas. But the disappointing reverse saw the forward struggle to make a mark. He will hope for a response.
KEY OPTA FACTS
— This will be the 86th meeting between the Galaxy and Rapids, including playoffs, the second-most played game in MLS history (behind DC United against New York Red Bulls – 94 games). The Galaxy have won 43 times against the Rapids, including three of the past four, the most by one team over another in league history.
— The Galaxy’s four-match winning streak was ended at San Jose on Sunday with a scoreless draw at Earthquakes Stadium. It was their second clean sheet in a row after managing to shut opponents out only once in their first eight games of the campaign.
— The Rapids have won only one of their past nine MLS matches (D4 L4) after opening the season with consecutive wins. Their 4-1 defeat at FC Dallas came after they had conceded just three goals in their previous four league matches.
— Lletget has scored three goals in his past two matches at Dignity Health Sports Park, including a brace in the Galaxy’s last home game against Los Angeles FC. Lletget scored just three times in 13 home matches for the Galaxy last season.
— Andre Shinyashiki became the 11th different Colorado Rapids player to score a goal this season after he found the net against Dallas on Wednesday. No team has featured more different scorers than Colorado this season.