What we learned vs. LA Galaxy

Valentine talks about character, top defender, and big-time plays

Manneh celebration TWO ONE

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports Images

The 21,000 fans in attendance at BC Place got to witness an exciting game on Saturday, as our ‘Caps came back from a goal down not once but twice to earn a hard fought 2-2 draw with Western Conference powerhouse LA Galaxy.

So, what did we learn?

Character

Highlights: Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-2 LA Galaxy

Playing the Galaxy back to back is a daunting task for any team, never mind a very young Whitecaps FC team who are still finding their feet.

After losing a tough game on the road in LA, the ‘Caps were pushed to their limits in every way possible in this weekend’s rematch. In the first half, we prodded and probed against a well-organized Galaxy side and looked wary of being caught on the break.  We had a few quality chances, but then LA took their first lead of the game with a goal out of nothing before the break. 

After two personnel changes to start the second half, as well as a switch to a more attacking formation, we got back into the game with a goal from Darren Mattocks – only to allow Robbie Keane to put the Galaxy ahead again 10 minutes later.

At that point, a lot of teams would have folded. But not this team.

The ‘Caps were determined to get something out of this game, as they dug deep and eventually got an equalizer through a great strike from Kekuta Manneh.

As Carl Robinson said after the game, the ‘Caps have shown that they can compete with one of the top teams in Major League Soccer, which should give them even more belief as they continue their season.

Top defender

Gonzalez lobs a ball into the box to set up LA's second goal

When the Galaxy made centre back Omar Gonzalez a Designated Player, there must have been a lot of people questioning their logic since the DP tag is often given to attacking midfielders or strikers that can potentially score you a lot of goals.

But when you look at his last two performances against Vancouver, you can see why the Galaxy made this move. Gonzalez is a dominating presence in central defence. He’s strong in the air, on the ground, and reads the game well.

The American is also comfortable distributing the ball out of the back. He even found time to get an assist with a lovely cross into the box that led to LA’s second goal. 

Gonzalez showed through these two games why he’sconsidered one of the best defenders in the league and he could be a huge hit when heads off to Brazil with the U.S. national team for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Big-time plays

Manneh's "moment of brilliance" levels the score

Everyone knows at this point that LA is one of the league’s toughest teams. It was always going to take something special to get any kind of result against them.

As the Galaxy regained the lead in the 77th minute and time ticked away, you really felt that something special had to happen for the ‘Caps to draw even a second time. And that’s exactly what Manneh provided with a superb goal in the 86th minute.

It really came out of the blue, as Mattocks played a short pass to Manneh and let the young Gambian do the rest. Right when he got the ball a few yards outside the 18-yard-box, you knew that Manneh was going to go for goal. He just couldn’t be stopped.

The 19-year-old unleashed a powerful shot that eluded the Galaxy defender and found the bottom right corner of the goal, giving goalkeeper Jamie Penedo little chance.

Time and time again, players like Keane and Landon Donovan have shown that they’re players who can make big-time players and change the game with a moment of brilliance. On Saturday, we showed that we have those players as well.  

It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). Single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.