It was a good news/bad news sort of night Wednesday for the LA Galaxy, who rallied in the final minutes for a 2-2 draw that gave them a 5-2-1 mark over the past month and a day, not to mention some momentum heading into Saturday night's SuperClasico against Chivas USA at TheHome Depot Center (10 pm ET, TeleFutura).
The good news: The comeback – their fourth in eight games since returning in mid-June from Major League Soccer's minibreak – allowed them to steal a point from the Whitecaps, who were in command until David Beckham's deflected 81st-minute shot halved a two-goal deficit.
“Let's face it, I think we can say we stole a point here,” head coach Bruce Arena said in his postgame news conference. “We took a lot of risks in the second half to try to get a goal, and then, certainly trailing in the last 10 minutes, we really opened ourselves up, and we are fortunate not to concede a goal there. ... We're going to take the point, and we're getting out of town real quick.”
The bad news: The Galaxy fell behind early, again, thanks to poor defending, again.
HIGHLIGHTS: VAN 2, LA 2
Vancouver went ahead in the 18th minute, after Camilo stripped Beckham at midfield and David Júnior Lopes sat back and let Gershon Koffie step unimpeded to the top of the box. Barry Robson's superb header nine minutes later, after using A.J. DeLaGarza to screen away Sean Franklin's mark – and after Michael Stephens failed to close down Lee Young-Pyo on the right flank – made it 2-0.
“Two months ago, we wouldn't have been able to come back from a two-goal deficit,” Beckham told media in Vancouver. “But we've got character over the last couple of months and back into our team. They obviously had a lot of play in the first half and they played well, but we were able to capitalize on the hard work that we put in towards the end of the game.”
Said captain Landon Donovan: “We didn't start the game well again, which is frustrating, and we were pretty down at halftime. But as the end of halftime came, we knew if we got one goal, we could scare them a little bit. And we got one goal and then a great second goal. Maybe even could have got a third at the end.”
The Galaxy were fortunate. They didn't have a shot on goal until the second half, put on three on target, got a couple huge saves from goalkeeper Josh Saunders and survived a late Robson free kick that clanged off the crossbar.
LA rallied from a quick two-goal deficit to win, 3-2, at Real Salt Lake on June 20, then erased deficits at San Jose – the Quakes then rallied from a two-goal deficit for a 4-3 victory – and in Saturday's 5-3 triumph at Portland.
“We've had some games this year where we've absolutely not been able to – in fact, most of the year, I don't think we've been able to come from behind on the road to a steal a point,” Arena said. “There's an obvious exception, at Salt Lake. I just think it's a big result. ... For our team, trailing by two goals 80 minutes into the game, we can't complain.”