CARSON -- The LA Galaxy stuck to their guns in midfield and Robbie Keane broke free just after halftime to deliver a 1-0 triumph Saturday night over visiting Vancouver, setting up an intriguing rematch next weekend in Canada.
Keane rifled home a Stefan Ishizaki cross in the 47th minute and the Galaxy claimed their second straight victory while Landon Donovan was forced to await at least another week before making MLS scoring history.
LA held possession for huge swaths of play, but sloppy passing and fierce defensive pressure from the Whitecaps' speedy attackers gave Vancouver three super scoring opportunities in the first half. Not much materialized for Vancouver after halftime, however, despite bringing Kenny Miller, Erik Hurtado and Nicolas Mezquida off the bench in the final 20 minutes.
The Galaxy made one change to the lineup they fielded in last weekend's SuperClasico victory over Chivas USA, with A.J. DeLaGarza returning from a ankle/shin bruise to replace Todd Dunivant, out with a abdominal strain, at left back.
The Whitecaps switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation they used in their first two games, with Sebastian Fernandez and Kekuta Manneh starting in midfield, top scorer Miller moving to the bench and midfielder Matias Laba suspended after picking up two yellow cards in last week's loss at Colorado.
LA's diamond midfield had its desired impact early, with the Galaxy dictating terms for most of the first 20 minutes, but they were sloppy with the ball and struggled to turn possession into chances. They put just one shot on frame in the first half, an eighth-minute Keane drive at goalkeeper David Ousted following a give-and-go with Baggio Husidic.
Husidic nodded a corner kick over the crossbar in the 14th minute, and Donovan -- still seeking goal No. 135 -- was off-target twice, heading wide left from Dan Gargan's cross in the 40th minute and firing high from Ishizaki's feed in the 43rd.
Vancouver's attacking speed caused the Galaxy's defense problems, and goalkeeper Jaime Penedo had to make three big saves to keep things even. He stopped Darren Mattocks at the right post in the 20th after the Whitecaps forward swiped a lazy pass near midfield, parried another Mattocks shot from a Pedro Morales pass in the 32nd, then halted Manneh one-on-one after Morales' diagonal ball got past Gargan in the 45th.
Keane struck in the 47th minute, racing onto a ball sent in from Ishizaki. The Swedish midfielder, in his best performance since joining the Galaxy, squared up with Jay DeMerit at the right edge of the Vancouver box, then sent in a cross to the far post that an open Keane buried.
The Galaxy nearly added to their lead, but Donovan fired at Ousted in the 49th minute, second-half substitute Rob Friend shot just past the left post on an 82nd-minute breakaway, and Keane chipped over the crossbar in a one-on-one situation in the 88th.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Robbie Keane||The Galaxy captain was a menace to the Whitecaps' defense from the opening whistle and at the center of many of LA's scoring chances. Strong performance.|
|2||Jaime Penedo||While LA did create several scoring chances, Penedo came up big at the other end to keep a shaky Galaxy back line from conceding.|
|3||Stefan Ishizaki||The veteran midfielder is really finding his groove. Not only did he deliver the game-winning assist, but he looked dangerous on the ball almost every time he had it.|