CARSON, CA – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2W-2L-2D) came out on the attack against perennial MLS Cup contenders Los Angeles Galaxy (2W-1L-1D) on Saturday, but ultimately fell 1-0 in the first of consecutive matches against their Western Conference competitors. The ‘Caps host the Galaxy next Saturday in a rematch at BC Place.
It was evident from the outset that Whitecaps FC would not sit back against the favoured Galaxy. Head coach Carl Robinson deployed an attack-oriented lineup with Kekuta Manneh earning his first start of the season. He was joined by Sebastian Fernandez and Pedro Morales in the front three of a 4-2-3-1 formation.
In the first minute of the match, Darren Mattocks did well to earn a corner kick, a common theme in the first half. Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo punched out the subsequent corner from Morales comfortably.
On eight minutes LA had their first chance of the game. Keane played a quick one-two before striking a shot on target that was saved by David Ousted.
Ten minutes later it was Vancouver again on the front foot. A corner kick from Morales was cleared and sent back in by Andy O’Brien. Jordan Harvey then had a shot blocked before Morales struck one over the bar.
The speed of the Blue and White was clearly trouble for the Galaxy. Mattocks made a terrific run into the box on 20 minutes, slipped, but got back up with the ball at his feet and fired a shot on target, however Penedo was there to keep it out. Next was Manneh’s turn to burn the defence, breaking through on 32 minutes before Penedo again made a good save.
The home fans were hoping to see Landon Donovan score and become the leading goalscorer in MLS history. That goal nearly came off of a cross from Dan Gargan in the 40th minute, but Donovan's header went wide of the ‘Caps net.
After an even first half, the two sides went into the break level at 0-0. Though they hadn’t scored, Whitecaps FC out-chanced the home team with three shots on target compared to only one from the Galaxy.
LA came out motivated early in the second half. Barely a minute in, attacking midfielder Stefan Ishizaki crossed into Keane who broke free and tapped it into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Down a goal midway through the second half, Robinson sent in reinforcements as Erik Hurtado and Kenny Miller subbed on for Fernandez and Morales in the 70th minute. Hurtado looked to make his mark four minutes later as he chested down a ball into the box, found an inch of space and fired a shot, but it was quickly blocked by the Galaxy defence.
Pushing for a goal, Nicolas Mezquida came on to provide fresh legs on 76 minutes, replacing Manneh. The Uruguayan immediately stepped up to take a corner kick, which was met by the head of Kenny Miller and found the target, only to see Penedo keep it out.
With Vancouver pressing forward, the Galaxy found space for a breakaway the other way. Substitute Rob Friend got on the end of a flick from Keane, however his low finish went wide of the far post to keep Whitecaps FC in the match.
Despite a late surge, the Blue and White could not find the goal they needed as the final whistle blew on a 1-0 defeat.
There will be a quick chance at redemption for the ‘Caps as they host the Galaxy at BC Place next Saturday, April 19. Tickets are available at whitecapsfc.com/tickets.
Stat of the game
Whitecaps FC had a season-high nine corner kicks, while the Galaxy had only two.
Tweet of the game
Definitely lots of positives tonight. Tough match and maybe the @whitecapsfc deserved better. Looking forward to next weekend already.
— From The Backline (@FromTheBackline) April 13, 2014
Budweiser Man of the Match: Russell Teibert
Referee: Jair Marrufo
47’ – LA – Robbie Keane (Stefan Ishizaki)
Shots: LA 13 – Vancouver 10
Shots on Goal: LA 3 – Vancouver 4
Saves: LA 4 – Vancouver 2
Fouls: LA 7 – Vancouver 7
Offsides: LA 0 – Vancouver 6
Corners: LA 2 – Vancouver 9
18.Jaime Penedo; 33.Dan Gargan, 4.Omar Gonzalez, 22.Leonardo, 20.A.J. DeLagarza; 19.Juninho, 8.Marcelo Sarvas (16.Rob Friend 79'), 6.Baggio Husidic, 24.Stefan Ishizaki (11.Gyasi Zardes 79'); 7.Robbie Keane,10.Landon Donovan
Substitutes not used
1.Brian Perk, 9.Samuel Rosa, 21.Tommy Meyer, 28.Kofi Opare, 34.Kenny Walker
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 33.Steven Beitashour, 40.Andy O'Brien, 6.Jay DeMerit, 2.Jordan Harvey; 28.Gershon Koffie, 31.Russell Teibert; 7.Sebastián Fernández (19.Erik Hurtado 70'), 77.Pedro Morales (9.Kenny Miller 70'), 23.Kekuta Manneh (29.Nicolás Mezquida 77'); 11.Darren Mattocks
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 16.Johnny Leverón, 20.Nigel Reo-Coker, 27.Ethen Sampson