On Monday morning in Carson, California, Vancouver Whitecaps FC reserves (0W-3L-1D) suffered a 2-1 defeat at LA Galaxy reserves (1W-4L-0D) in the MLS Reserve League.
Goals by Gregg Berhalter and Adam Cristman at The Home Depot Center's University Field #1 gave the Galaxy second string their first win of the season in Reserve League's West Division. Though youngster Omar Salgado pulled a goal back in the late stages for the Blue and White, the 'Caps remain in search of a first win in the Reserve League.
Both sides created opportunities before Los Angeles took the lead. The Galaxy's Paolo Cardozo hit the post with a free kick, while 'Caps midfielder Nizar Khalfan tested Galaxy reserves goalkeeper Brian Perk with a strike.
LA took the lead on 27 minutes when Berhalter struck home Cardozo's cross from the right at the far post after Whitecaps FC reserves were unable to properly clear Hector Jimenez's corner.
The Galaxy reserves maintained their lead into the second half, but nearly conceded an equalizer just before the hour mark. A fine attacking run by Russell Teibert saw the Canadian youth international cut past a pair of Galaxy defenders on the left flank, but Perk was able to come off his goal line and claim the ball at Teibert's feet in the LA box. Minutes later, Khalfan forced another save from Perk before fellow 'Caps midfielder Michael Nanchoff put the rebound wide after being put under pressure by Berhalter.
Vancouver would rue those missed chances, as the Galaxy reserves doubled their lead through Cristman on 73 minutes. Cardozo won possession in midfield before finding his strike partner near the edge of the box. From 20 yards out, Cristman beat 'Caps goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre with a right-footed shot that slipped just inside the post.
Vancouver's response to falling two goals behind was positive, as they pulled a goal beck through Salgado on 77 minutes. Playing against his former club, Whitecaps FC reserves captain Pete Vagenas started the attack by finding Khalfan, who then found Nanchoff. The midfielder then found Salgado with a ball over the top of the Los Angeles backline, with the young striker able to elude the attentions of Galaxy defender Dustin McCarty before lobbing a shot over Perk and into the net for 2-1.
It was as close as the 'Caps would get, and despite the disappointment of Monday's result, Whitecaps FC reserves assistant coach Martin Nash was pleased with the effort he saw from his side in Southern California. "I felt today was a good exercise, as it helped get some guys some match fitness," Nash told TEAM Radio. "The guys tried to do the right things by keeping possession, moving the ball well, and creating lots of chances. We're just unfortunate not to come away with a win. Our finishing around the LA box was the key to today's game, as we didn't take those chances when we had them."
Whitecaps FC reserves will now have an extended break, with five weeks off before hosting the Galaxy reserves on Bell Pitch at Empire Field on Sunday, July 31. The 'Caps second string will then play two games versus Pacific Northwest rivals Seattle Sounders FC reserves (Tuesday, August 9) and Portland Timbers reserves (Sunday, August 21).
27' - LA - Gregg Berhalter (Paolo Cardozo)
73' - LA - Adam Cristman (Paolo Cardozo)
77' - VAN - Omar Salgado (Michael Nanchoff)
63' - LA - Dan Keat
79' - LA - Michael Stephens
Vancouver Whitecaps FC reserves
24.Brian Sylvestre; 3.Bilal Duckett (15.Philippe Davies 77'), 14.Greg Janicki (19.Blake Wagner 60'), 50.Mouloud Akloul, 27.Alexandre Morfaw; 31.Russell Teibert (30.Cian Hughton 81'), 33.Pete Vagenas, 16.Nizar Khalfan, 13.Michael Nanchoff; 17.Omar Salgado, 23.Long Tan (8.Wes Knight 51')
Subs not used: 18.Kevin Guppy
LA Galaxy reserves
24.Brian Perk; 21.Dustin McCarty, 29.Kyle Davies (11.Chad Barrett 57'), 3.Gregg Berhalter, 28.Ryan Thomas; 15.Dan Keat, 7.Jovan Kirovski, 27.Bryan Jordan, 16.Hector Jimenez; 30.Paolo Cardozo (26.Michael Stephens 74'), 17.Adam Cristman
Subs not used: 35.Vince Paldino, 43.Riley Wolfe, 79.Grady Howe