CARSON, Calif. – Camilo Sanvezzo netted his MLS-best 13th goal of the season Saturday night, but the shorthanded LA Galaxy relied on youth to overcome an early deficit and claim a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Jose Villarreal and Gyasi Zardes, paired up front as captain Robbie Keane sat out with an ailing hip, scored goals as the Galaxy dictated terms from start to finish in front of 20,093 at the StubHub Center.
Villarreal scored a 29th-minute equalizer despite Vancouver’s protestations for an offside call, and Zardes tallied the winner in the 57th minute, tracking down a long ball, beating a defender, then firing past Vancouver goalkeeper Brad Knighton at the near post.
LA (10-8-3), which had fallen to sixth in the Western Conference with Colorado's draw against Seattle earlier Saturday, vaulted into third place, four points behind Real Salt Lake and one in back of Portland. Vancouver, which was outshot, 22-4, dropped to 9-6-5.
Hector Jimenez nearly gave the Galaxy an edge twice in the first 10 minutes. Brad Rusin cleared his header, from a Villarreal cross, off the goal line in the sixth minute; the winger's dipping shot from outside the box caromed off the crossbar three minutes later.
Camilo, with his ninth goal in the last eight games, struck in the 19th minute on the Whitecaps' only chance of the first half. Lee Young-Pyo, on the right wing at midfield, sent a sharp diagonal cross toward the middle. Russell Teibert got a piece of it with his head, redirecting it beyond LA's backline and into space. Camilo took it alone to the box and slotted past Carlo Cudicini.
The Galaxy were even 10 minutes later. Gonzalez headed Juninho's free kick into the goalmouth, it barely cleared forward Zardes' head, and Villarreal poked it home. Linesman Jeremy Hanson flagged LA offside – Villarreal would have been offside if Zardes had made contact with the ball – but referee Chris Penso stuck to his original correct ruling, signaling the goal for LA.
Zardes scored the winner 12 minutes into the second half. A long ball from Todd Dunivant found the rookie streaking behind the Whitecaps' defense, and he caught up with the ball at the left byline. Zardes poked it past Rusin, stepped around the defender as he tumbled, then beat Knighton at the near post, getting off his shot just as Johnny Leveron arrived to pressure him.
Cudicini made a foot save on Kenny Miller in the 73rd minute, and defender A.J. DeLaGarza dispossessed Jordan Harvey in the Galaxy box in the 86th, the only second-half chances the Whitecaps created.
Vancouver is home next weekend against Philadelphia, and LA visits Colorado.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Gyasi Zardes||In preseason he promised to "blow our minds" with his skill. On the goal, he finally delivered.|
|2||Marcelo Sarvas||Never, ever stops running, and is always in the right spot. Class and workrate = indispensible.|
|3||Hector Jimenez||A constant danger up and down the flank outplaying his better-regarded opposite number tonight.|