It was a battle of first versus worst, and the final scoreline of 3-0 in favour of LA Galaxy over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday at The Home Depot Center surprised few.
The talk among Whitecaps FC this week was that this game would be a barometer of how the team stacked up against some of the league’s best. And while the result will be disappointing, there were positives from a Vancouver perspective, at least statistically.
The ‘Caps managed to outpossess the league leaders in their own yard, albeit marginally, and even attempted more shots than the hosts. Ultimately, the difference was the table-topping team’s ability to finish.
“It’s unfortunate because I thought we came to play today, but in the end, they got the better of us,” lamented 'Caps head coach Tom Soehn after the match. “They are a good team and they punished us.
“Right now, we are focused on getting better,” he continued. “We outshot them in their building, but they are ruthless. When they get their chances, they put them away, and that’s what we are not doing right now and that’s why we are not getting results on the road.”
While Whitecaps FC managed to make plenty of attempts on the Galaxy goal, they were equally stingy at the back, restricting LA to four shots on target.
“I think we were keeping guys behind the ball, working hard for each other, defending as an 11,” goalkeeper Joe Cannon said. “They like to look for the ball over the top, but we didn’t allow them to do that. Once they got their first goal, things got a bit open and a bit spread out and their quality showed through.”
Ultimately, it was the opportunism of Mike Magee and Robbie Keane which proved the difference, as the American grabbed a brace and the Irishman scored a header and claimed an assist on the game winner.
“Obviously, when you lose 3-0, it’s never a positive thing," Cannon said, "but you always have to try to take positives away and that’s a fact that we gave four shots on target and three of them went in. But to give four shots to a good team that creates a lot of chances, that has to be a positive.
“If we get a penalty in the first half and then we go 1-1 and it’s a different game, but unfortunately that didn’t happen tonight, so we live and die by that.”
Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @martinmacmahon