With a six-game undefeated streak on the line the Whitecaps went into LA looking for their first ever win at the StubHub Center, but fell 2-1 on a poor performance reminiscent of the disappointing performances seen earlier this season.
The First Half
The Whitecaps started the game with plenty of energy and enthusiasm, but it was the Galaxy who had a good chance to open the scoring early when Brad Knighton made a big stop on Marcelo Sarvas' shot off of Hector Jimenez's cross in the 2nd minute. LA kept pressing forward and looked very dangerous in the opening stages of the game, and in the 6th minute defender Brad Rusin cleared Jimenez's header off the line. Jimenez almost scored again in the 9th minute on another bad turnover, but his shot from outside the area came off the underside of the crossbar and was eventually cleared out of bounds by Johnny Leveron for a corner kick.
The Whitecaps' Russell Teibert, who looked to be fully recovered from the virus that forced him to withdraw from Canada's Gold Cup squad, set up Camilo Sanvezzo for his 13th goal of the year in the 18th minute. Camilo raced onto Teibert's brilliant pass and slid the ball underneath Carlo Cudicini to open the scoring.
Controversy erupted in the 29th minute after LA was awarded a free kick from Gershon Koffie's foul on Sarvas. LA scored on a nicely played ball into the box, but the goal was initially called back because Jose Villarreal appeared to be offside on the play. After consulting with the linesman referee Chris Penso eventually awarded the Galaxy the goal and the game was tied at 1-1. This decision enraged Manager Martin Rennie and his assistant Paul Ritchie, and they were eventually warned by the fourth official to calm down. A replay later in the half appeared to show the linesman say that he made a mistake and Villarreal was indeed onside.
The remainder of the half finished in much the same manner that we had seen for most of the opening 45 minutes. Although, and somewhat surprisingly, the Whitecaps had 48% of the possession in the first half, it was a statistic that flattered them because it was LA that had the most goal scoring opportunities and the Caps were lucky to go into half time with the score tied 1-1.
The Second Half
The game resumed in the same manner that the first half ended, and the Caps were again looking a little ragged and having to defend most of the time. Gyasi Zardes ran onto a long through ball from Todd Dunivant in the 56th minute and put it past Knighton from a sharp angle, but only after he thoroughly dismantled the Whitecaps' defense in the process.
After several more quality chances for the Galaxy, Kekutah Manneh was introduced just past the hour mark at the expense of Jun Marques Davidson as Rennie looked to the rookie to supply his side with a spark of offense. In the 72nd minute Juninho was booked for simulation after he went to ground as the result of a shocking dive without actually being touched by a Vancouver player.
Vancouver's best chance to score in the second half came from Kenny Miller in the 73rd minute when he ran onto Manneh's well placed pass just inside the area. Miller's shot went off of Cudicini's legs and the danger was cleared.
An increasingly desperate Whitecaps side looked for an equalizer in the dying minutes of the match. Rennie introduced Daigo Kobayashi in the 76th minute for Teibert and Tom Heinemann replaced Young-Pyo Lee in injury time. The Whitecaps had one last chance in the 93rd minute when Camilo's free kick from just outside the LA box was deflected out for a corner, but the Caps could not capitalize and the game finished 2-1 in favor of the LA Galaxy.
The Final Word
- Vancouver's undefeated streak comes to an end at six games. The Whitecaps last lost away at Seattle on June 8th and drew away with Sporting Kansas City on July 3rd.
- With the loss the Whitecaps are now 4th in the Western Conference - one point behind LA, who leapfrogged the Caps with the win this evening.
- The impact of the loss was mitigated by the fact that conference leaders Real Salt Lake lost at SKC tonight and Seattle, Portland and Dallas all drew in MLS action earlier today.
- Striker Darren Mattocks did not make the trip to LA as he remained in Vancouver to receive treatment for a strained right knee.
- Newly acquired goalkeeper David Ousted was included in the lineup for tonight, but did not play.
- Vancouver's next match is Saturday July 27th at 4pm PDT versus the Philadelphia Union at BC Place.
Man of the Match: in a match where they were outplayed almost right from the start, defender Brad Rusin had a better game than the rest and was awarded the Man of the Match.
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