An hour into Saturday's Vancouver-LA Galaxy clash, Landon Donovan noted, “if you were going to pick a team to win ..., you'd probably said we would have won the game.”
The Galaxy held onto the ball, pinned the Whitecaps in their end for long stretches of play, and found plenty of opportunity in their attacking third, but they didn't do nearly enough with their chances.
They also conceded three late goals, all sloppily defended, and dropped a 3-1 decision at BC Place.
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“We don't have enough aggressive players on the ball in the last third of the field. It showed tonight ...” head coach Bruce Arena said on the Galaxy's postgame telecast. “Landon can be more aggressive on the ball. [Mike] Magee didn't have a particularly good game in the last part of the field, either. Those are guys we're counting on.”
Neither was particularly efficient -- Jose Villarreal and Hector Jimenez made the biggest attacking imprints for LA, and Omar Gonzalez was the primary target up top, especially in the final 15 minutes -- and the Galaxy managed just three shots on frame, including rookie Gyasi Zardes' first MLS goal in the 86th minute, after putting just two on target in last week's loss to Houston.
The Galaxy clearly aren't whole without Robbie Keane, who has missed four of the last five games after suffering a sprained ankle and has targeted Wednesday's game at Philadelphia for his return. But Donovan acknowledges that he needs to do more.
“I felt like I played OK,” Donovan said, “but Bruce and I spoke this week. I've got to get more chances on my own, and it's difficult. Teams do a good job on sort of keying in on a few of us. We got some sort of half-chances but no real chances, and I've got to do a better job of getting some better chances.”
Donovan said he needs to be more aggressive, that “I'm a little too unselfish sometimes, and sometimes when I get in spots on the field, I can probably take a guy on and shoot myself as opposed to making a pass.”
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The return of Keane could remedy the situation, although, Arena says, “who knows what remedies anything?”
“He can create chances on his own,” Donovan said. “When Robbie's on the field, he takes some of that pressure [on specific attackers] off so that he's attracting attention, which sometimes leaves me with more space or Mike with more space or Juninho with more space, and then we get more chances.”
With or without Keane, the energy against the Whitecaps -- and against the Dynamo last weekend -- isn't acceptable.
“We've got to learn,” Magee told media in Vancouver. “The last few games have been a similar pattern in terms of not having the killer instinct and letting games get away from us. ... We have the ability there and we've got the right guys. Even with Robbie gone, we've still got the right guys to get a win.”