Recap: LA's Juninho, Beckham deal 'Caps 4th straight loss
CARSON, Calif. -- Juninho's sizzling stretch was rewarded with another sensational goal and David Beckham struck again with a free kick as the LA Galaxy continued to climb the Western Conference standings with a 2-0 triumph Saturday night over the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps.
Juninho hit the top-right corner from 28 yards just before halftime and Beckham found the upper-left corner from 25 yards in the 79th minute as LA (13-11-4, 43 points) pulled even on points with Seattle. The Sounders play Sunday at FC Dallas.
Vancouver (10-11-7, 37 points) lost their fourth in a row, matching the longest losing streak in the club's brief MLS history, and they maintain a five-point lead on Dallas for the West's final postseason berth.
Juninho's goal, his sixth in his last five appearances, came from a brilliant blast after Robbie Keane slightly redirected a low cross from Hector Jimenez on the right flank. The Brazilian had the time to settle the ball and look up before delivering a signature dipping strike.
The Galaxy nearly added to it in the first minute of the second half, but Keane's blast was turned aside by Vancouver goalkeeper Brad Knighton and Jimenez's effort a few moments late was cleared off the line by the Whitecaps' Jun-Marques Davidson.
Keane, active throughout the match, drew the foul that led to Beckham's goal which was the Englishman's sixth in his last eight games in all competitions.
It was the Galaxy's seventh shutout win in their last 15 MLS games and improved their record to 10-3-2 -- 12-3-2 in all competitions -- since mid-June. The Whitecaps managed just two shots, including a Kenny Miller header well wide late in the first half.
Landon Donovan, still nursing a strained hamstring, missed his fifth straight game with the Galaxy. Vancouver was without leading scorer Darren Mattocks, serving a red-card suspension, plus center back Andy O'Brien (adductor strain), right back Lee Young-Pyo (given the week off) and midfielder Gershon Koffie (adductor strain).
Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie favored Jordan Harvey over Alain Rochat at left back; Brazilian midfielder Tiago Ulisses, who joined the club this week, was left off the 18, as expected. Veteran John Thorrington was given the start at right back, his first appearance there this season.
The Galaxy might have scored two more in the first half but for questionable officiating decisions. Keane thought he'd won a penalty kick when a sliding Martin Bonjour blocked his pass from the left byline with his left arm in the 27th minute, but referee Baldomero Toledo ruled otherwise.
Then Keane beat Whitecaps netminder Knighton one-on-one from Marcelo Sarvas' feed five minutes later, but he was flagged offside, a ruling the television replays did not favor.
Juninho scored two goals in the Galaxy's 4-0 romp Aug. 12 over Chivas USA, added two more in the 5-2 victory Aug. 23 over El Salvador's Isidro Metapan in the CONCACAF Champions League, then netted the winner in last weekend's 2-0 triumph over FC Dallas.
The Galaxy returns from next week's break for World Cup qualifiers with a Sept. 14 game at home against Colorado. Vancouver is back in action the following evening on Sept. 15 at FC Dallas.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Juninho||The Brazilian is feeling it. Another patented strike -- and plenty of quality and hard work in midfield -- from Juninho sets the Galaxy on their way.|
|2||Robbie Keane||Once again the Irishman doesn't get rewarded for all his runs and enterprise, but it was another complete effort that was only lacking a goal-scoring finish.|
|3||Hector Jimenez||Productive night from the right midfielder. When it wasn't Keane leading the attack, it was usually Jimenez.|