Playing their fourth training match in five days, Vancouver Whitecaps FC suffered another 2-0 defeat to MLS Western Conference rivals LA Galaxy in a closed-door contest on Tuesday.
Having fallen to the same scoreline in a similar match-up on Monday, the Galaxy took the plaudits for a second straight outing following second-half goals by Adam Cristman and Chad Barrett at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Whitecaps FC had their opportunities to score, but were again unable to convert in a match that was played over two 40-minute halves.
After playing a more veteran line-up against each other on Monday, Whitecaps FC and the Galaxy fielded many of their younger players in this second match. "We had a team out there that have little experience playing MLS opposition, so today was a good experience for those younger guys," said head coach Teitur Thordarson after the match. "Though it was not a good result, I thought we played very well in the first half."
Indeed, Thordarson's squad made a bright start to this second game in as many days. On five minutes, Atiba Harris forced Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders into a save, while Philippe Davies was off-target with a free kick effort two minutes later. At the other end, young Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre made an early save from a Leonardo header on 12 minutes before Vancouver created more chances.
On 20 minutes, Harris had a far-post shot deflected away for a corner after Omar Salgado had deflected a Russell Teibert's cross from the left. Four minutes later, centre back Greg Janicki went wide with the first of two headers in the half after Teibert played in a free kick from the edge of the Galaxy box. On 33 minutes, Chinese striker Long Tan struck a shot just over the Los Angeles crossbar.
The performance of youngster Teibert on the left-hand side of midfield earned particular praise from Thordarson. "He's been doing very well," said the Icelandic coach. "We are trying to be a little bit careful with him because he is young and he is trying to play at this level. With the back-to-back games that we have had, we've tried to be careful with how we used Russell and Omar today. It's why we haven't played them as much in our recent training matches. Nonetheless, it's very encouraging to see Russell playing well."
The Galaxy also struggled to find the target before the break, with former Toronto FC man Barrett and fellow striker Mike Magee unable to test Sylvestre prior to the halftime whistle.
Though nothing could separate both clubs during the first 40 minutes, the Galaxy proceeded to attack Vancouver soon after the restart. On 42 minutes, Sylvestre made a fine reaction save from Barrett's close-range header. The 'Caps tried to hit Los Angeles immediately on the counter-attack, but Nizar Khalfan misconnected with Teibert's cross.
It was the Galaxy that started creating more opportunities, and after Barrett was off-target with two strikes, Cristman gave Los Angeles the lead on 59 minutes when he tapped home Miguel Lopez's low cross from eight yards out.
Cristman nearly set up a second Galaxy goal two minutes later, but Barrett was again unable to get his lines right from the cross. Then on 72 minutes, Whitecaps FC created a fine chance to equalize through two of their substitutes. Camilo da Silva Sanvezzo's shot deflected kindly to an open Cornelius Stewart. With only Saunders to beat, the Galaxy keeper was equal to the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines international's goal-bound strike.
Stewart's missed opportunity was pivotal to the game's result, as the Galaxy sealed victory with a goal from Barrett on 74 minutes. A ball played across the Whitecaps FC box from Cristman allowed the former TFC forward to turn and drive low shot past Sylvestre for a 2-0 Los Angeles lead.
Two minutes from the end, Davies tried his best to pull a goal back for Vancouver with a free kick, but Saunders kept a clean sheet by punching the midfielder's set-piece clear of danger.
For Whitecaps FC, it was another disappointing day versus one of the top clubs in MLS, though Thordarson's squad will have learned much from these friendly encounters against Bruce Arena's side.
The 'Caps will continue training in Arizona for the rest of the week, with Vancouver scheduled to play local men's side Arizona Sahuaros in a training match at the Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. PT.
59' - LA - Adam Cristman (Miguel Lopez)
74' - LA - Chad Barrett (Adam Cristman)
29' - VAN - Omar Salgado
63' - VAN - Philippe Davies
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
24.Brian Sylvestre; 34.Bilal Duckett, 14.Greg Janicki, 40.Ryan O'Leary, 8.Wes Knight; 12.Russell Teibert (31.Bedri Gashi 75'), 15.Philippe Davies, 32.Jeb Brovsky, 9.Atiba Harris (39.Cornelius Stewart 68'); 17.Omar Salgado (36.Camilo da Silva Sanvezzo 51'), 23.Long Tan (29.Nizar Khalfan 45')
Los Angeles Galaxy
12.Josh Saunders; 21.Dustin McCarty, 5.Sean Franklin, 22.Leonardo, 2.Todd Dunivant (28.Ryan Thomas 52'); 26.Michael Stephens, 16.Hector Jimenez, 25.Miguel Lopez, 27.Bryan Jordan (17.Adam Cristman 52'); 18.Mike Magee, 11.Chad Barrett