...Holding their own, knotted at 0-0 at the half, the Vancouver Whitecaps must have been feeling pretty good about their game. On the road. In LA. And without a couple key cogs in midfield.
Vancouver was late returning to the pitch to start the second half - was it the just the vibe, or had they just lost track of time? Just two minutes later, they lost possession, lost track of Robbie Keane, and gave up what would prove to be the match winner.
While the end result was disappointing, as were some of the performances, overall it was match that either team could have taken.
David Ousted: B-
Made a couple decent stops, but nothing spectacular and distributed well. Looked as if he could have attacked the ball on the Keane's goal, but things happen fast and second-guessing's easy after the fact.
Gershon Koffie: B-
A much better job done by Gersh, back in a holding mid role in a 4-2-3-1. Made one mistake early, but atoned for it throughout the match - leading the midfielders in tackles with three, and latching onto a team best of 11 recoveries. Didn't like how he let off the gas upon reaching his own penalty area on the Keane goal.
Steven Beitashour: B
Probably his best effort as a Whitecap to date. Called upon to provide more defending than any other back liner, as LA has a pronounced tendency to attack down their left wing.
Pedro Morales: C
A disappointing showing from Morales on Saturday. Nagging back troubles and a bit of a hamstring issue may have contributed to it, but he looked less than stellar. He was subbed off after 70' - the hook could have come earlier without much complaint. Only connected on 67% of his passes, and completed only 33% of his crosses. No through balls, and just one key pass. Let's hope we'll see a return to form in the friendlier confines of BC Place.
Sebastian Fernandez: C-
Clearly, the poorest performer on the pitch on Saturday. Was the home-opener vs NY an aberration? Or was the LAG match the outlier? I'm starting to think the former, as Fernandez hasn't looked anywhere near as dangerous as he did on opening day. His timing was off, he was easily defended, and generally seemed to be out of ideas in possession. He failed to get either a shot on or at goal in 70 minutes.
Kekutah Manneh: B+
Arguably Vancouver's most dynamic player on the night, though Darren Mattocks, who played the full 90' up top, was also worth mention. Manneh had two decent chances at goal, in particular in the 32nd minute, when his sharp-angled left-footed drive from eight yards out forced Jaime Penedo to make his toughest stop of the night.
Though the Caps didn't come away with any points, they played well enough to hold LA to one goal off a defensive lapse. The Caps had opportunities to score during a match in which some team components were either missing, or not exactly shining. That's the good news.
On the flip side, LA could easily argue that they were unlucky not to have pumped three past Ousted - had they taken their chances. The Galaxy have cashed in on their first crack at the Caps this year, but at home in BC Place, expect Vancouver to shuffle the deck anew - and it'll be game on.