You can’t miss Eduardo Hurtado. Not at 6 foot 3, 200 pounds. Not with his imposing figure constantly floating around the goal.
But Wednesday night at the Rose Bowl, the Colorado Rapids never got a line on the Galaxy forward, who scored three times in sending the Galaxy to a 3-1 victory before 21,280.
Hurtado found a different way to score each of his goals and counter a pesky Colorado squad for the Galaxy’s 12th victory against no defeats.
“I came here to score goals,” Hurtado said, shrugging.
It appears Hurtado also came here to make his son as famous as he is becoming among Major League Soccer fans.
After his first goal, which tied the game at 1-1, he raced to the stands and gave his son a kiss. After the second, he gave him a hug. And after the third, he picked 3-year-old Steward up and carried him into the locker room.
“My family is why I play,” Hurtado said.
His family will be happy to know that dad now leads the league in goals, with 11--one more than Kansas City’s Preki, who still leads Hurtado in points, 27-26.
Hurtado scored one goal off his foot, one off his head, and one by bullying a defender.
“That’s his characteristic,” said Mauricio Cienfuegos, whose cross was headed in by Hurtado for his third goal with a minute remaining in the game. “He does each one different then you think.”
Hurtado broke a 1-1 tie in the 31st minute, as much by chance as by skill. Harut Karapetyan took a long ball and was one-on-one with Rapids goalkeeper Chris Woods, but Woods deflected Karapetyan’s shot back out.
Hurtado was there waiting, just outside the box. He struck the ball before it hit the ground, and it grazed a Colorado defender before catching the net.
The Rapids (5-9) had been pressing hard, and led, 1-0, after Shaun Bartlett’s goal in the fourth minute. On that goal, Felipe Rodriguez pushed a pass through the Galaxy line to Bartlett, who found himself alone with only Jorge Campos to beat. Campos charged, but Bartlett slipped a shot past him into the left corner of the net.
The Galaxy then got its counterattack going. In the 21st minute, a long ball was sent into the corner in the vicinity of both Hurtado and Cobi Jones, who were bunched together about four yards off the back line. Hurtado let Jones have it and he immediately put it back to Hurtado, but the pass was off.
Felipe Rodriguez looked as if he had control, but Hurtado bumped him aside, took one dribble in the direction of Woods and fired a shot over the goalkeeper’s right shoulder, tying the game.
Hurtado missed some other good opportunities.
“That is his nature,” Galaxy Coach Lothar Osiander said. “He misses the easy ones, and makes the difficult ones. But we will take them.”