Galaxy Cures Its Early Troubles

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Cobi Jones can't quite make up his mind.

He likes the Kings, but he's originally from Detroit, so the Red Wings have a bit of a hold on him too.

"I like the Red Wings as well, but whenever I go and watch the Red Wings play, the Kings always seem to win," the Galaxy winger said Saturday night.

"The Kings have always been down and then they've come back and won every time I've gone. It's happened three times now."

It happened Wednesday night, but Jones, who led the Galaxy to a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids in front of 12,749 at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, doesn't know if he'll be at Staples Center on Monday for Game 6.

"I'll have to see," he said. "It's up to the people who give me the tickets."

Meanwhile, Jones is busy turning around another Los Angeles team. After the Galaxy lost its first two games of the Major League Soccer season, Coach Sigi Schmid shook up his starting lineup.

Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman gave way to back-up Matt Reis, who made several strong saves while shutting out the Rapids.

"We have two excellent goalkeepers and when one goalkeeper is playing a little bit below his norm, we have have a good [option in Reis]," Schmid said. "He deserves to play."

Said Reis: "It's good to play and it's definitely even better to get a shutout. We've been struggling a little so we all got together and said let's play [for a shutout] defensively and let the offense take care of itself."

It didn't work out that way. It was the defense that created the game's only goal, scored by Ezra Hendrickson in the 44th minute off a long pass from fellow defender Greg Vanney.

Still, the Galaxy midfielders and forwards looked more lively than they had in earlier losses to San Jose and Kansas City and the defenders, especially Paul Caligiuri, were solid.

Forward Brian Mullan made his MLS debut and played well enough to retain the position.

"I was very happy with Mullan's debut," Schmid said. "I think it's unfortunate he didn't get a goal. Normally he would finish something like that [a scoring chance when Mullan headed a Jones pass over the crossbar from close range].

"I think he showed tonight that he's a busy, active player. He's somebody who can take on people one on one, he's somebody who runs hard off the ball."

Said Mullan: "I'm going to be practicing my heading all week."

The Galaxy improved to 1-2 with the victory, while the Rapids fell to 1-1-1.

"I thought we played better tonight, especially in the first half," Schmid said. "I thought we created a lot of [scoring] chances. We did a good job of possessing the ball and going forward.

"When you're 0-2, things sometimes get a little tight and you just want to get a win under your belt."

King fans know the feeling. Now they want to know what time Jones will arrive Monday night.

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In other games:

Tampa Bay 3, New York/New Jersey 1--The MetroStars were without Clint Mathis, who is with the U.S. national team, and lost midfielder Pedro Alvarez to a red card in the 28th minute as they were defeated by the Mutiny in front of 17,253 at East Rutherford, N.J.

Alex Comas gave the MetroStars (1-1-1) the lead in the first half but Steve Ralston, Josh Keller and Ali Curtis scored three goals in the final 20 minutes to give the Mutiny (2-1) the victory.

Dallas 3, Chicago 2--Ariel Graziani scored the game-winner six minutes into overtime as the Burn, under former Fire assistant Mike Jeffries, won in front of 9,785 at Dallas.

Chicago (1-1-1) had taken a 2-0 lead on first-half goals by Carlos Bocanegra and Jamar Beasley, but Dallas (2-1) tied it when Bobby Rhine and Jason Kreis scored in the final 10 minutes of regulation.

Washington 2, New England 1--Forward Abdul Thompson Conteh, who was traded to D.C. United (2-1) from San Jose in the off-season, scored twice in front of 15,656 at Washington to leave the Revolution (0-3) still seeking its first victory.

New England goalkeeper Juergen Sommer stopped a Carey Talley penalty kick. Mike Ammann did the same for D.C., denying Wolde Harris, but Matt Okoh scored off the rebound.

Miami 2, San Jose 1--An own goal by former Galaxy defender Zak Ibsen put the Earthquakes behind in the 39th minute and the Fusion's Pineda Chacon scored six minutes later to make it 2-0 as the Fusion (3-1) bounced back from a midweek loss to Kansas City with a victory in front of 8,096 at Miami.

Ian Russel scored for San Jose (1-2), which was without defender Jeff Agoos and striker Landon Donovan, both with the U.S. national team.

Kansas City 3, Columbus 0--The defending MLS champion Wizards (3-1) picked up their second victory of the week, shutting out the Crew (1-1-1) in front of 14,488 at Kansas City, Mo.

Francisco Gomez, Chris Brown and Matt McKeon did the damage. Columbus lost midfielder Robert Warzycha to an ankle tendon injury and he will be sidelined from four to six weeks.

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