May 11, 2013: Whitecaps FC 3-1 LA Galaxy
Who would have thought going into this game that the Galaxy would be in more need of a victory than we would.
The ‘Caps are the in-form team and sit two points ahead of LA with a game in hand. Now we need to carry this momentum into the game and make sure we keep the pressure on them. In the past, maybe we wouldn’t expect much out of this game, but confidence must be at an all-time high right now.
We must be wary though. LA are still a good team and, being at home, they will have a decent amount of possession. We need to keep our shape and remain compact as LA will exploit any spaces we leave open.
It will be vitally important that we are not tentative when we win the ball back. We need to be aggressive and attack them at every opportunity. We are a very dangerous team on the break and need to show that to the Galaxy. They will not be as potent on offence if they have to work hard to get the ball back.
We have already beaten this team 3-1 at home this year, and in order to replicate that on the road, we must show the Galaxy that we are there for three points right from the opening whistle.
Robbie Keane factor
'Caps take advantage of space, catch Chicago on counter
Robbie Keane has seven goals and eight assists in just a dozen league games this year, but he limped off in the 79th minute of LA’s 2-1 defeat to the Timbers last weekend and looks likely to miss this game. When Keane is in the lineup the Galaxy are a very different team as the stats show. They are 9W-8L-3D when he is playing and 2W-5L-1D when he’s not, and they have been outscored 15-7 in his absence.
An LA team with Keane in the mix is a very hard team to put pressure on when they have the ball, as he is one of the smartest players in MLS at finding space in-between the defence and midfielders. He pops up in areas where he is hard to mark, which allows them to maintain great possession
Should he not play on Saturday, our ‘Caps can capitalize by putting increase pressure on the ball, which will create more turnovers that will allow us to catch them on the break.
Late game super subs
Manneh comes off the bench vs. Chicago, scores 2nd goal
As I mentioned in what we learned from the Chicago game, we have a number of attacking options that can come off the bench late in a game.
This provides different looks which have paid dividends in our last few matches.
This could be an important factor against an LA team that is not easily defeated at home. However, the Galaxy have conceded 15 goals after the 76-minute mark of matches this season, and eight goals in stoppage time.
Their last game in Portland was a stoppage time winner to lose 2-1, and two weeks ago they conceded twice in stoppage time to lose 3-2 to San Jose Earthquakes.
If the game is close at the end then this will be playing on their minds. We can take advantage of this with our game changers off the bench.