Just when the Whitecaps played perhaps their worst match of the season, they played an absolutely electric match at BC Place, finally registering their first win ever against the LA Galaxy, 3-1. It was one of the most exciting second half's in recent memory, with all four goals scored in that span.
Martin Rennie used a strong lineup against the club that dumped Vancouver from the playoffs a season ago. The backline of Lee, O'Brien, Leveron and Rochat stayed intact, as Brad Rusin comes back from a concussion. However, Rusin did come on late as a substitution, so Leveron may have usurped his spot. Jun Marques Davidson returned to the lineup, with Daigo Kobayasi, Nigel Reo-Coker and Gershon Koffie comprising the mid. Camilo and Darren Mattocks comprised the attackers, with Joe Cannon making another start in net.
The Galaxy would get the first chance of the night just five minutes into the contest, when a Jose Villarreal header forced Joe Cannon to make a marvelous diving stop. The Whitecaps would counter with their own opportunity at 7', when Darren Mattocks had his shot blocked in the box.
At 13', Daigo Kobayashi was forced off the pitch, after appearing to injure himself. A tweet from the Whitecaps later would confirm Kobayashi had a left ankle sprain. Canadian Rusell Teibert came in, which turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. The 'Caps, winless in their last 7 matches needed someone to step up; it turned out to be the kid who didn't even start the match.
Nigel Reo-Coker nearly got the 'Caps on the board at 36', although he had plenty of help from Omar Gonzalez. Reo-Coker's cross found Gonzalez, who nearly played back into his own net. A great reaction save from Galaxy goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini kept the match scoreless.
The somewhat entertaining first half was nothing compared to the second, when Russell Teibert would find the back of the net for his first career MLS goal. At 63', Teibert would take a Reo-Coker pass while streaking up the right flank. He cut back in the middle, then unleashed a left footed shot that beat Cudicini, and lit BC Place on fire. It was the type of goal the Whitecaps needed to score after last weekend's match, a confident, pretty goal.
At 76', Teibert would score again, sending the sell-out crowd into a frenzy. While Teibert was the trigger man on the goal, let's not forget all the great work Gershon Koffie did to help it happen. It was Koffie that won the challenge on the ball, before using his body position to get some space and then sending a perfect ball for Teibert to one-time home. With a 2 goal lead late in the match, it looked like the Whitecaps would finally get the gigantic monkey off their back, and defeat the LA Galaxy.
However, because they rarely do anything the easy way, the Whitecaps would need to fight off a late Galaxy surge. At 86', Jose Villarreal found Gyasi Zardes who headed home the ball perfectly, cutting the 'Cap lead to 1.
Darren Mattocks would ice the match, converting on one of a few quality chances. First, after a Galaxy defender lost his footing at 91', Mattocks raced ahead and stole the ball. On the right flank, he unleashed a shot that Cudicini did well to keep out. Mattocks crumpled to the ground, face in hands. He would redeem himself a minute later, after Gershon Koffie started another scoring play. He lofted the ball into the air, where Jordan Harvey chested it down. That found Mattocks, who slammed it home to break his scoring drought, and send the Whitecaps to a 3-1 lead. Who woulda thunk it?
Man of Match: It's tempting to say Teibert because of the numbers, but I'm going with Gershon Koffie. He was a solid presence all night, and was involved in almost all of the scoring plays. A very strong, but subtle outing for Koffie.