Early turnover, lack of precision in final third see Vancouver Whitecaps drop points at home

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- A sloppy giveaway in midfield, a moment of poor communication at the back and a lack of finishing in the final third conspired on a night in which the Vancouver Whitecaps looked lively but let themselves down in key moments.

The biggest of those moments in Saturday's 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy came in the third minute, as Landon Donovan scored a cracking goal with his left foot from outside the area.

While the Designated Player's finish was excellent, the play that led to the goal started with a giveaway from midfielder Matt Watson – who directed the ball to A.J. DeLaGarza, a play that seemed to irritate Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted.

“We can't give away balls in the middle and give away chances to a guy like Donovan like we did in the first half,” Ousted said. “We'll get punished and we got punished today.”

It wasn't just the giveaway that made the difference though. The Whitecaps' reaction to DeLaGarza's ball to Robbie Keane immediately afterward allowed Donovan to walk through to the top of the box unchaperoned by a Vancouver defender, as both Johnny Leveron and Andy O'Brien pushed toward Keane, leaving the American international unmarked.

“I think the three of us were attracted to the ball,” O'Brien said. “Make no mistake about it, he still had a lot to do, even after that. It was a super finish.”

At the other side of the pitch, the Whitecaps created a fair amount of opportunities, but seemed to lack incision – hardly surprising given team leading scorer Camilo was forced to watch from the bench due to a groin injury he failed to recover from in time for this game.

“In a game like that today, where it's really tight, a player like Camilo is someone who could make a difference,” head coach Martin Rennie said. “The key thing is he's not going to be out for long because what we didn't want to do was play him today and then have him missing more games and then limping through the rest of the season.

“So, all being well, he'll be fully fit for the next game and we'll get him through the rest of the season from there hopefully.”

Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.