VANCOUVER, B.C. – You can tell a lot about the character of a team with how they respond to adversity. On the basis of what was on display at B.C. Place on Saturday evening, the LA Galaxy have a lot more fight in them this season than they showed last year in MLS.
A young, and vastly undermanned Galaxy side, missing players to injury, international duty, and suspension, put on a solid defensive display to come away with a hard-fought point in a scoreless draw against a Vancouver Whitecaps side that ran out of attacking ideas to break them down.
"We're a much more hardened team than we were last year," Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters after the match. "Last year we could have come in here and we wouldn't have gotten a result. So we went for a win. We went for a game plan that we thought could give us a win and we said if we don't get the win, we'll walk away with the tie."
It was one of those matches where a point feels like a victory for the side, and they could even have grabbed all three if Emmanuel Boateng had scored when through on goal just before the hour mark, but perhaps that was just being too greedy.
"No, we're happy," Schmid said. "I thought we did a good job. We were on our heels a little bit at certain times because they were sending in a lot of crosses, and their game is based on flick-ons and crosses and things like that. But I thought we dealt with it well.
"We had the best chance of the game and we could have walked out of here winners but a tie is well deserved and we're happy with that."
The Galaxy went with a young lineup, handing their first round draft pick Tomas Hilliard-Arce an MLS debut in a three-man defense, and Schmid was delighted with how they played and managed to shut out a dangerous Whitecaps attack.
"When you look at our team and the age of our team, the oldest player on the field when we started was Servando Carrasco," Schmid added. "The rest of the team was pretty young."
"Every time you play you're playing for your job. Guys acquitted themselves very well today and have said 'Hey, I'm ready if you need me.'"
LA were so depleted that Schmid made the rare decision to include two goalkeepers on a six man bench, Justin vom Steeg and Brian Sylvestre. Not so much for their chance to play, just that they were available.
"We only had so many players, so we took every player that was available," Schmid said with a laugh. "So we brought them all. We figured it would be nice for him to make the trip and be part of the group."