CARSON, Calif. – Generally, 3-0 wins can be described as uncomplicated. Not so on Saturday night, said Galaxy coaches and players after a three-goal rout over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
“I don’t think that was an easy game,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “I thought Vancouver played quite hard, really gave us an excellent first half. That’s not a 3-0 game.”
Mike Magee had a brace as Bryan Jordan added two assists. Robbie Keane also scored a goal and set up another as the Galaxy distanced themselves from Tuesday’s loss at Morelia in a CONCACAF Champions League match, a heartbreaker of a 2-1 defeat in which LA had a would-be match-winner disallowed due to a questionable call.
There were no lingering effects from the match, either mental or physical ones, as the Galaxy picked apart the Whitecaps and improved to 58 points on the season.
“We found a way to put that one behind us pretty quickly, which shows a lot for our team,” Magee said after Saturday's win. “Getting a win quick was good because sometimes after those losses, they get contagious and you could lose a couple of games after.”
Vancouver seemed to have been the perfect team to have played on a night when the club needed a bounce-back performance. The Whitecaps rolled over to the Galaxy at Empire Field in July, dropping a 4-0 result against the club in their only other meeting. But the LA didn't approach Saturday's match as anything but a difficult encounter, and their play spoke to that.
“They’re a good team, man,” Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said of Vancouver. “They were maybe a little naïve and I think they would admit that their marking wasn’t the best ... but when they move the ball and their guys on the attack are dangerous. Our back four ... and Josh [Saunders] did a really good job of dealing with them.”
With Jay DeMerit and Alain Rochat manning the central defense, Vancouver were able to keep composed in the back. Ex-Galaxy midfielder Peter Vagenas and Shea Salinas helped move the ball while Davide Chiumiento, Camilo and Eric Hassli tried to break through the LA defense. Mostly, though, the Whitecaps were sound in the back – at least for most of the first half.
“It was tough because obviously they sat back,” midfielder David Beckham said. “Usually we can break teams down with balls behind them but they sat back so much we had to be a bit patient.”
Keane though broke down Vancouver from the left side of the penalty area, whipping a ball to Magee in the 40th minute that Magee knocked past Joe Cannon for the game’s first goal. From then on, the Galaxy’s confidence grew.
“Once we got that first goal,” Beckham said, “we knew it was going to set ourselves up for the rest of the game.”