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SOC: MLS-champion Galaxy, Rapids play final tune-up at UCSB

They won’t have their big star Landon Donovan, but local soccer fans will still have the opportunity to see the two-time defending champions of Major League Soccer play in Santa Barbara on Friday night.

The Los Angeles Galaxy is taking on the Colorado Rapids at UCSB’s Harder Stadium in both teams’ final preseason match before the start of the 2013 MLS regular season. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30. At 5:30 preliminary match will feature the Rapids Reserves against the UCSB men’s team.

(Check out the video of the Galaxy’s 6-2 win over Club Tijuana on Tuesday night at the Home Depot Center)

The Galaxy have kept MLS in the news during the offseason due to the situation with Donovan. The U.S. national team’s all-time leading goal scorer announced he was taking a sabbatical from soccer after the Galaxy won their second straight MLS Cup last December.

Last Sunday, the Galaxy announced that Donovan would return to training at the end of March. The team kicks off the season March 3 against the Chicago Fire and then heads into the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals against CS Herediano of Costa Rica.

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said this week that when Donovan reports he won’t be ready to play until the end of April.

Even without Donovan, the team Arena is bringing to Santa Barbara is primarily the same one that beat the Houston Dynamo for the league title.

The roster includes Irish international Robbie Keane, Mike McGee, Todd Dunivant, Juninho, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. De La Garza and Sean Franklin. The team has a new goalkeeper in Carlo Cudicini from the English Premier League’s Tottenham Hot Spurs.

Colorado, which finished seventh in the Western Conference and missed the playoffs last year, is rebuilding under coach Oscar Pareja. The team picked up forward Edson Buddle in a trade with the Galaxy and midfielders Atiba Harris and Nick LaBrocca in deals with the Vancouver Whitecaps and Chivas USA, respectively. It also signed speedy winger Kevin Harbottle from perennial Chile first-division powerhouse Universidad Católica.

The Rapids also include former Ventura High star Kory Kindle, a MLS SuperDraft selection out of Cal State Bakersfield.

Former UCSB standout Machael David also is on the roster of players the Rapids brought to Southern California. David was taken in the league’s Supplemental Draft. He played in the second half of a recent match against UNLV.

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