As a former MetroStar, Tim Howard doesn't have the best memories of the MLS playoffs. Indeed, though he didn't leave the league until 2003 for his career as a stalwart 'keeper for in England's Premier League, his last post-season series was a series loss to LA Galaxy in 2001.
The Rapids were 1-0 down after the first leg of the Western Conference semifinal series, but at least could count on home advantage to try to square the score in the second leg. Shkelzen Gashi produced a wonder-goal out of nothing to put Colorado level on aggregate in the first half, but the Albanian maestro had to sub out at half time.
The teams battled through another 75 minutes without further scoring, setting up the shootout. Howard first faced a familiar rival from his Everton days: Steven Gerrard landed LA's first spot kick. But everything went the Colorado 'keeper's way after that. While his teammates (including former Red Bull Sebastien Le Toux) got their shots past Brian Rowe, the Galaxy's kickers found no further joy against Howard.
Giovani dos Santos skied his shot. Ashley Cole demonstrated why he has almost no reputation as a penalty taker, telegraphing a shot to Howard's right that the 'keeper saved eagerly. Jeff Larentowicz tried to show Cole what he was supposed to have done, but saw his shot ricochet off the post.
Howard was the hero; the Galaxy was beaten.
The Rapids roll on to a Western Conference final series against Seattle Sounders.