What a nightcap!- Edmonton Sun

Beckham shows off some moves, but Vancouver Whitecaps prove up to the task

By DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA 

The Vancouver Whitecaps contended they had the better chances in the first encounter at B.C. Place.

They definitely got the better of the L.A. Galaxy last night at Commonwealth Stadium.

If not for a goal post, a great save and a shot that bounced off defender Joe Franchino's butt, the Whitecaps would have defeated the Galaxy by a bigger margin than 2-1 in front of over 37,000.

The main attraction may have been Galaxy midfielder David Beckham. But it was the Whitecaps who impressed, beating their Major League Soccer counterparts despite playing in the lower tiered United Soccer Leagues.

"We demonstrated tonight that we are a quality side," said Whitecaps striker Nicholas Addlery. "I think the result speaks for itself. We wanted to try and get them early and after we scored that first one, we wanted to get another one. It was a matter of trying to put away as many of our opportunities as we could."

ADDLERY SCORED FIRST

Addlery opened the scoring four minutes into the contest.

He was able to get to a loose ball inside the penalty area, fend off Galaxy defender Abel Xavier and fire a shot through goalkeeper Josh Wicks.

Xavier, a former Portuguese international, struggled to keep pace with the quicker Addlery, who later in the half blasted a shot off the goalpost.

"He was just a regular guy to me," Addlery said. "He's played in a World Cup and a European Championship, but if you have that mentality that you're playing against a certain name, you're not going to have success against them. You have to bring them down to the rest of the 11 players on the field."

Last night's encounter was the second exhibition game between the sides. They met in Vancouver in November - a game which finished in a 0-0 tie.

The rematch proved to be more exciting, at least on the scoresheet.

"I thought for it just being a friendly it was a pretty spirited affair," said Whitecaps midfielder Steve Kindel.

"There weren't three points on the line or positioning in the league. But there was still a lot pride on the line, so it was a good effort from both teams tonight."

Beckham - the $250-million man and the reason for the large turnout - had an unspectacular tilt, although it was one which proved how he thinks the game on a different level.

PERFECT DIAGONAL CROSS

He set up the Galaxy's only goal on a perfect diagonal ball which striker Alan Gordon got to above Whitecaps keeper Srdjan Djekanovic to tie the game late in the first half.

There were other impressive crosses and passes, which his teammates failed to convert. He also had a couple of chances to score himself, blasting a volley which bent wide and bouncing a free kick on the wrong side of the post in the first half.

He was eventually substituted in the 76th minute, which sent a number of fans scurrying for the exits.

At the time, the Whitecaps were up 2-1 as Eduardo Sebrango scored the eventual winner, converting a cross from Nick Webb right in front of the net.

The Whitecaps had a couple of other chances to extend their lead later in the game.

The Galaxy, meanwhile, had few chances in the second half, although they did appeal for a penalty shot when a cross bounced off a defender's arm.

However the referee turned a blind eye.

"It was a good game," Beckham said.

"Obviously we would have like to have won it.

"I thought for a couple of (referee decisions) we could have tied the game or even won it."