Outgunned, outclassed and overawed.
In a first half in which the Vancouver Whitecaps looked just as mesmerized as the fans at the Home Depot Center, the defending MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy scored three goals before finishing the match at a walking pace in a comfortable second period of play.
“I think in some ways it felt like we were a little bit, almost starstruck at times, and that was a bit frustrating,” head coach Martin Rennie told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410 following the match. “I think we need to make sure the next time we play them or the next time we’re on the field we get back to doing what we do and impose ourselves on the opposition.”
The sentiment that perhaps the Whitecaps gave the home side a surplus of respect was shared by goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
“[In the first half] I can’t remember a hard tackle or someone taking the initiative to maybe change the complexion of the game,” Cannon told TEAM 1410. “It’s a loss. Hopefully some guys got some autographs tonight, because that might be the only thing you got out of it.”
The Galaxy’s trio of Designated Players was in fine form, as Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane both found the back of the net, and David Beckham demonstrated his competitive streak by making a number of firm tackles in addition to providing his trademark distribution.
“Robbie Keane has just come back from playing against the best players in the world,” Rennie said. “Only a few days ago in the [European Championship with the Republic of Ireland]. His movement and his link up play, along with the penetration of Donovan and the other players that were around him were just very difficult to play against.”
After conceding a sucker-punch 86th-minute goal against the New York Red Bulls in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at BC Place, this one-sided affair hurt just that little bit more.
“This is tough,” Cannon said. “We were disappointed after the New York game. That felt like a loss. This felt like a beating.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.