CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy scored three first-half goals and put a stamp on their most successful week of the year with a 3-0 rout of the Vancouver Whitecaps at The Home Depot Center on Saturday.
It took just over a quarter-hour for LA to open the scoring, but they could have done even earlier after Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane both had good looks that went begging.
There was no mistake in the 16th minute, however. David Beckham sent a corner kick to the far side of the box where Juninho met it with his head. The Brazilian's long-range effort was blocked, as was an attempt by David Júnior Lopes, before the ball fell to Donovan seven yards out from the center of the goal. Whitecaps ‘keeper Joe Cannon parried Donovan's deflected shot, but the rebound fell to Mike Magee who tapped in the shot from just three yards out.
Rather than rally from a goal down, as has been their way all season, the Whitecaps found themselves scrambling, always a step behind the play. On the half-hour, LA made them pay. Donovan found Keane inside the box and the Irish standout knifed through the Whitecaps defense before slotting home from about 10 yards out for the 2-0 lead.
Less than one minute later, Vancouver defender Martín Bonjour misplayed a ball and watched helplessly as Donovan raced past him. The Galaxy captain controlled the ball and darted into the penalty area but his attempt deflected off the right post and went out for a goal kick.
The three-goal load wasn’t a long time coming, however, as Vancouver continued to dig a hole. In the 40th minute, Keane once again broke clear of the Whitecaps backline and fired a shot on goal that was handled by Jay DeMerit. Donovan stepped up and easily converted the penalty to give the Galaxy an insurmountable 3-0 lead.
The Whitecaps tried to play long balls to speedy forward Darren Mattocks but too often he was bottled up by A.J. DeLaGarza and Lopes, who eschewed the trap for a deeper line against the rookie.
Vancouver’s best attempt of the first half came in the 45th minute when Davide Chiumiento ripped a shot from the corner of the penalty area that appeared to fool Josh Saunders. It skittered just wide and came to rest in the side netting.
The Whitecaps brought on Camilo and Eric Hassli to try and generate some attack in the second 45, but the Galaxy were strong in the back and did not yield much to the visitors. Camilo had the two best chances – once when he cut inside from the left and pushed a shot just wide, and another late that Saunders did well to get down and save.
The Galaxy (6-8-2) improved to 20 points after picking up their third victory in the last seven days, and are now back in the playoff picture at fifth in the Western Conference. They’ll be back in action on June 30 when they head up I-5 for the California Clasico at San Jose.
Vancouver (7-4-5) stay on 26 points, third in the West. Their road trip continues on July 4 at Colorado.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Robbie Keane||Back with a vengeance. The Irishman put his stamp on the game from the first kick and was a bit unlucky not to bag two or more.|
|2||Juninho||LA's season to date has been characterized by their inability to close down midfield space and win the 2nd ball. Juninho did both against Vancouver.|
|3||Landon Donovan||Always dangerous in attack, but looked hesitant in front of goal. Should have had more than 1 goal and 1 assist - which tells you just how good he was.|