Before we turn the page to Sunday's Western Conference Semifinal match against the San Jose Earthquakes, check out my Three Points to Thursday's 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
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CARSON, Calif. -- Down a goal in their Knockout Round match to Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the Galaxy needed a goal to save their season -- enter Mike Magee.
In the 69th minute, David Beckham played a short corner into Juninho, who launched a cross into the box that found the right foot of Magee, whose volley found the back of the Vancouver net. Just four minutes later, Landon Donovan put LA up for good after a foul in the box by Vancouver's Martin Bonjour led to a penalty gave LA their second and final goal of the night.
Although Magee's postseason success is becoming a regular occurrence for the Galaxy -- his goal was his fourth goal in five postseason games -- the Galaxy attacker can't seem to pinpoint the reason for his success, but what he can explain, is the heightened intensity that the MLS Cup Playoffs bring.
"I feel it," said Magee. "I’m so much more nervous for these games than I am any other, but just as a team, we battle as a team, and I’ve kind of been the beneficiary goal-wise the last two years, but this team keeps battling away. Being down a goal, we had to push and tonight it was my turn."
Magee's teammates Beckham, Donovan, and head coach Bruce Arena discuss his goal below...
DONOVAN: "He’s a type of player that shines in moments like this. There’s something special about players like that, a lot of guys do it when games don't matter or they'll score the third goal in a three to nothing win that don't matter, but Mike
scores goals that matter. He’s done it consistently since he’s been here."
BECKHAM: "That’s what Mike does. He gets in positions – he’s a clever player, he’s a really intelligent player, and we were putting a lot of balls in the six yard box, and I saw Juninho for the short corner and obviously he put it in a position right just at the penalty spot, and Mike was there."
ARENA: "Great goal, obviously an important goal. We're real pleased with the result; not an easy game."
CARSON, Calif. -- Central to the LA Galaxy's comeback from a one goal deficit to defeat Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-1 was the play of substitute Marcelo Sarvas.
After coming on for Hector Jimenez in the 52nd minute, Sarvas' quick passes and speed made an immediate impact as he helped draw the attention of the Vancouver defense, leading the opportunties like Mike Magee's game-tying-goal in the 69th minute of play. With Juninho dealing with an apparent Achillies injury, Sarvas may be called into action during Sunday's Western Conference Semifinal first leg against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Sarvas discusses his role in Thursday's Galaxy victory below...
(On playing right back…)
SARVAS: I think in the situation today, we’re behind in the score, everybody has to help in some way, and when the coach asked me if I could play in that position, I didn’t think, just said yes, of course. I’m happy everything worked good and I think I did a good job.”
(On his Instructions from Arena…)
SARVAS: “He asked me to play offensive because they had everybody sitting back and just waiting, so they asked me to play wide and try to cross the ball and to score. To make it 1-1.”
(On LA’s Patience…)
SARVAS: “That’s important to have guys that are used to playing games like that, that you can control the motion, that you can control the time, we were behind because they scored but we had that game controlled. We had the ball possession, sometimes a little bit slow with the ball but we had the game, we just had to score the first goal then we knew that the second would come.”
CARSON, Calif. -- A few notes from Thursday's LA Galaxy 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC
*Vancouver's goal by Darren Mattocks in the third minute was their first against the Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. The Whitecaps had been shutout in their last three meetings against the Galaxy at HDC by a combined score of 8-0
*With his goal in the 69th minute, Mike Magee has now scored in four of the LA Galaxy's last five postseason contests. Magee has six postseason goals in his career, all of which have come with LA.
*Landon Donovan's goal in the 73rd minute was his 21st postseason goal of his career.
*On Sean Franklin, Bruce Arena told reporters: "Sean was tight from the game on Sunday [vs. Seattle], expect him to be back. We thought if we played him tonight we could miss him from the rest of the playoffs, so we just made that decision.
*Bruce Arena described Christian Wilhelmsson's injury as a tight right quad that occured in practice on Wednesday.
*Arena also told reporters that he "would expect changes in [his] lineup" for Sunday's match
*Thursday's attendance was 14,703
*Juninho described his injury as an Achillies issue.
*The LA Galaxy return to postseason action on Sunday against the San Jose Earthquakes at 6 pm PT before traveling to Buck Shaw Stadium for the second leg on Nov. 7 for an 8 pm PT kick off.
The LA Galaxy may have roared back from an early deficit to defeat Vancouver Whitecaps FC, but the status of Brazilian midfielder Juninho for Sunday's Western Conference Semifinal against the San Jose Earthquakes remains in question.
In the 82nd minute, the Galaxy midfielder was kicked by a Whitecaps defender, causing him to go down and eventually be removed from the match a minute later. Following the match, head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that while Juninho was "a little bit sore," the team expects him to be okay.
When asked, Juninho shared his coaches optimism.
"I'm tired, my Achilles tendon hurts a little bit, but I'm going to rest tomorrow and try to be ready for [Sunday] " said Juninho. "I was just standing there and the player kicked the ball through my legs and when I turned, I was just tired, and my Achilles just gave.
Meanwhile LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan believes that the club must take a wait-and-see approach to the Brazilian's health.
"We’ll see how he is tomorrow," said Donovan. "I think he was tired, his leg had been bother him a little bit so I think it was smart to get him out and hopefully he’s okay tomorrow."
We’re just a few hours away from tonight’s Knockout Round clash between the LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps FC, here’s a few links to get you to the opening kickoff.
*Vancouver captain Jay DeMerit attests that HDC is no house of horrors for his team.
TODD DUNIVANT vs. DANE RICHARDS
The wily Galaxy left back will have his hands full as he attempts to shut down the speedy Jamaican.
ROBBIE KEANE vs. JAY DEMERIT
Perhaps the biggest battle of the night, Keane will attempt to use his ball skills and speed to take on the physical Whitecaps defender.
DAVID BECKHAM vs. BARRY ROBSON
The battle of experienced midfielders will be pivotal as LA look to break down Vancouver.
PREDICTED LINEUP: Saunders; Franklin, Gonzalez, Meyer, Dunivant; Donovan, Juninho, Beckham, Magee; Keane, Buddle
MLSsoccer.com has begun their voting for 2012 AT&T Goal of the Year and the LA Galaxy have three nominees in the first four group stages.
In Group 1, David Beckham's free kick strike against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Sept. 1 faces a number of quality goals, including Darren Mattocks' infamous leaping header against Toronto FC on July 11. In Group 2, Marcelo Sarvas' goal against the Colorado Rapids on Sept. 30 takes on the competition that includes Chris Wondolowski's flick against the Galaxy on June 30. In Group 4, Galaxy golden boot winner Robbie Keane is represented for his classy finish against Real Salt Lake on Oct. 6.
Fan votes will ultimately break down 16 groups of 64 goals down into a final four, before the 2012 AT&T Goal of the Year is announced on Wednesday, November 29. Voting for these first four groups closes tonight at 11:59 pm PT. Groups 5-8 will be announced tomorrow.
CARSON, Calif. – Vancouver Whitecaps FC entered the postseason in less than impressive fashion, but according to their Knockout Round opponents, the LA Galaxy, that is of little concern.
Over the last ten games, the Whitecaps have earned just one win—a 4-0 drubbing of Chivas USA—, but when the schedule is extended to the last 17 matches, Vancouver has won just three times. To add to their end of the season woes, the Whitecaps have earned just one road win since July—a victory over the Colorado Rapids on July 4—going 0-7-2 in that nine game span.
Although that Vancouver have had their recent struggles, Galaxy midfielder David Beckham, who has played in his share of postseason and Cup matches over his career, admitted that there were such things as “underdogs” or “favorites” in a playoff match.
“People will be looking at them, maybe, as the underdogs, but I don’t see it that way,” said Beckham. “There are no underdogs in a one-off game in my eyes. They could come here and think that they’re playing in another stadium, all the pressure is off of them, and they’re going to come here and hopefully beat us.”
With that in mind, Beckham stated that there was no chance that LA will be overlooking a talented Vancouver side.
“Not in our locker room, none of our players are in that state of mind,” Beckham added. “We have to believe that we are very cautious of Vancouver because we know that they can play and cause us problems, and score goals. They have players that have played in Europe and played in big games in their team. So we’re well aware of their firepower and we’re well-aware that they’ll get every man behind the ball on every attack, so it’s up to us to be patient, but break them down when we can.”
If the Galaxy do bypass Vancouver, then they may be forced to where the title of underdogs as they look to defend their MLS Cup title, after having played an extra match then the rest of the Western Conference field.
However, according to Robbie Keane, the Galaxy are turning their back to such thoughts, choosing to focus on the task at hand.
“We don’t really think too much about it because we’re playing at home tomorrow. Obviously, it’s certainly an advantage for us when you’re playing in your home stadium. Listen, after this and hopefully we qualify for the final, its home and away until we get to the final…We’ll just continue and concentrate on tomorrow, and hopefully get a good win so we can look forward after that.”
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy are aware that they’ll need to bring an attacking impetus in Thursday’s Knockout round match against Vancouver Whitecaps.
In Vancouver’s scoreless draw against Real Salt Lake, the Whitecaps conceded the ball to Salt Lake, allowing RSL to control 69 percent of possession. But through an organized 4-2-3-1, Vancouver negated many RSL attacks, and in fact enjoyed the finest chance of the night as a Darren Mattocks header was called back for offside.
As the Galaxy prepare for Thursday’s Knockout Round match against Vancouver, they know that they must find a way to break down the organized Whitecaps, but also be wary of their speed on the flanks.
“We have to assume that the way that they’ve spoken and the way that they played last week in Salt Lake is indicative of how they’re going to come here, and play,” said Galaxy captain Landon Donovan. “If that’s the case, then two things need to happen. We need to be patient and very alert when they counter. They have two very dynamic attacking players in Dane [Richards] and Darren [Mattocks] who can really make you pay if you’re not alert. We have to be on our toes in that way and if a goal doesn’t come early, and we’re putting pressure on then we just got to be patient and keep going.”
While breaking through a Whitecaps defense anchored by defender Jay DeMerit promises to be difficult, LA are confident that they will be able to unlock Vancouver.
“That’s why we have good players here. We have players that can see situations and make things happen," said Keane. "If you look at the players that we have in the squad, we have players that are quite capable of unlocking defenses so it’s up to us. Who knows how they’re going to play, they might come out, and go for it all or they might sit out and catch us on the counter attack. We won’t know until tomorrow."
CARSON, Calif. -- The Home Depot Center has hardly been a place of success for Vancouver Whitecaps FC, but Vancouver captain Jay DeMerit attests that will not be on the mind of the 'Caps by the time that Thursday's Knockout Round match against the LA Galaxy kicks off.
In their two-year history in MLS, Vancouver have gone 1-3-2 at The HDC with their one defeat coming against Chivas USA in March, 2012 while their record against LA is 0-3-0 with zero goals scored. Although the Whitecaps are relishing their role as an underdog against the defending MLS Cup Champion Galaxy, DeMerit assured reporters after Wednesday's training session in Carson, that the venue was not going to be in the back of the Whitecaps' mind.
"Hopefully, we come in with a different mentality. We have won here, so it’s not like we have a jinx and we haven’t won in this stadium," said DeMerit. "I’m hoping that we don’t blame it on the stadium, but blame it on the opponent. What we can do is know that we have prepared for the opponent in the right way. Hopefully, the tactics will work and now we’re just looking forward to getting out there and battling it...It’s a great stadium, it’s a great surface. Some surfaces are harder to play on, but this one is good. We can get the ball down when needed and it’s always a good climate."