Vancouver Whitecaps FC

19 July 4:01 pm

The LA Galaxy have landed back in Los Angeles after a seven-day three city roadtrip. Above is a parting image from the trip of Lost Lagoon in Vancouver's Stanley Park.

To mark the occasion, I'd like to introduce First XI, a new game-by-game feature on the best stories from each match. Read the first edition here.

We'll have more later as we turn the page from Vancouver to Saturday's Superclasico against Chivas USA.

18 July 11:03 pm

VANCOUVER, Canada – It was an up-and-down performance for David Beckham on Wednesday as the midfielder started slowly – along with the rest of the LA Galaxy – but finished strong in the club’s 2-2 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps.

It was a hostile welcome to Vancouver by the Whitecaps faithful, who chanted “Olympic Reject” whenever the midfielder touched the ball. The night started slowly for Beckham, who was dispossessed on the Whitecaps first goal, allowing Gerson Koffie to put Vancouver up a goal early. But Beckham would redeem himself in the 81st minute when he kick-started the Galaxy's rally with LA's first goal of the night. With the goal, Beckham has now registered four goals and two assists in his last three games.  

Below are Beckham’s thoughts from the draw at BC Place:

(On the match…)

BECKHAM: “I think two months ago we wouldn't have been able to come back from a two-goal deficit. But we've got character over the last couple of months and back into our team. They obviously had a lot of play in the first half and they played well, but we were able to capitalize on the hard work that we put in towards the end of the game.”

(On the atmosphere at BC Place…)

BECKHAM: “It was a good atmosphere, it's a good crowd and it's nice to see the number of people who turned out. It's great to have a hostile crowd; it's the way it should be in the game. It brings excitement and brings passion and gets both teams up, so we want more of that.”

(On the addition of Robson and Miller to Whitecaps FC…)

BECKHAM: “It's always good for the league and good for different teams when European players come over and play here because they've got a lot of experience and played at a high level so it's good to see. It can only be great for the game in this country.”

(On Villarreal’s goal…)

BECKHAM: “Great goal. He's been doing in week in and week out in training. He works hard in training, he's a young kid and he likes to learn and he listens to the older players. Tonight was a good game for him.”

(On friction with Barry Robson…)

BECKHAM: “Obviously we're both passionate about the game and both passionate about winning. He's Scottish, I'm English, so there's always a little bit of bite there. We went at it a little bit and we spoke after and it's all fine, but we both want to win the game so it's nice to have that in a game because it shows people care.”

 (On playing better at home…)

BECKHAM: “I think we played a lot better when we were at home. That was the difference tonight. Obviously they played well, but at home we played our best 45 minutes of the season at that point. We didn't play as well tonight, but not taking anything away from Vancouver they played well.”

(On spoiling the ‘Caps lead…)

BECKHAM: “I much prefer to play a winning role but it's always nice to get a goal. I've scored a couple in the last few games. It's been enjoyable and I hope it continues.”

18 July 10:11 pm

VANCOUVER, Canada— It was a night to remember for Jose Villarreal as the forward scored his first professional goal saving a point for the LA Galaxy in a 2-2 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Villarreal’s goal was a wonderstrike that was created from a ball over-the-top from David Beckham that allowed Juninho to dish to the youngster. Villarreal then cut past Gerson Koffie and fired a left-footed shot into the far post of the net. Above is a photo that I snapped of the autographed game ball that was presented to Villarreal from the entire Galaxy squad.

Villarreal’s thoughts after his first professional goal below:

(On coming late and changing the result…)

 VILLARREAL: “I was happy that I finally got the chance and happy that I got the goal to tie it up so I’m really happy with the result.”

(On his world-class finish and how it started…)

VILLARREAL: “I don’t know, I’m just training every day and it just comes out. I saw the ball and I immediately cut it to my left foot and then just hit it far post.”

(On his mindset through the game…)

VILLARREAL: “Everything was pretty fast and once I got a couple of touches on the ball then the game slowed down. I got my rhythm and then I scored.”

(On his thoughts immediately after scoring the goal…)

VILLARREAL: “I didn’t have any words to describe it. I was very happy and I just want to keep going.

(Is this the start of playing more…)

VILLARREAL: “ I don’t know, that’s up to the coaches,  but I’m going to continue to keep working and hopefully I’ll get more minutes, but if not then I’ll keep working.

18 July 4:30 pm

VANCOUVER, Canada -- We're just hours from kick off between the LA Galaxy and the Vancouver Whitecaps. Above a photo taken a little earlier today from Vancouver's world famous Stanley Park. 

The match has a decisive feel as with a victory, LA can move to within one point of the Whitecaps for the fourth space in the Western Conference standings. 

My three points for tonight’s match against the Vancouver Whitecaps can be found here.

Below is the projected Galaxy lineup for the match

Starting XI: GK: Saunders; RB: Franklin, CB: DeLaGarza, CB: Lopes, LB: Dunivant; RM :Jimenez, CM: Beckham, CM: Sarvas, LM: Stephens; F: Donovan, F: Keane

18 July 12:16 pm

VANCOUVER, Canada –When Landon Donovan returned from international duty, he promised to become a better leader to a team that was mired in the lower half of the Western Conference standings and deliver he has.

Donovan has tallied a goal or an assist in five of the LA Galaxy’s last six games and is once again expected to lead the offense on against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday. A result would add to what has been a banner week for Donovan, who tallied his 100th career assist during Saturday’s victory over the Portland Timbers. Perhaps making the match even more special is the fact that Donovan’s father Tim—who is Canadian—has traveled to Vancouver and will be in the stands for Wednesday’s match.

Below are Donovan’s thoughts following Tuesday’s training session…

(Playing Vancouver…)

DONOVAN: “We’re feeling good about where we are right now. We’re very confident and we have a good stretch of games. Whether it’s good or bad, we played them very recently and I’m sure that they’re going to remember that and in front of their home fans, they’re going to want to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

(On the two team’s proximity in the standings…)

“With the way that we started the season, you wouldn’t have expected this, even three weeks ago. We’re very aware of where we are in the standings and where they are. We know that they’ve gone through some changes recently, but they’re a team that plays well here and they’re going to be up for it tomorrow.”

(On his impressions of the city of Vancouver…)

“I love Vancouver, I’ve been here many times and I’ve always really liked this city. This is my first time at BC [Place] since it’s been renovated and I think that it’s fantastic. It’s going to be a lot of fun tomorrow.”

(On  Vancouver’s Scottish midfielder Barry Robson…)

DONOVAN: “I think that he’s been pretty effective so far. This league takes some time getting used to, but he looks like he’s pretty comfortable. Once he gets integrated a little more than you can tell that he’s talented and he’s got a really great left foot, he’s going to make this team a lot better especially once [fellow Scottish DP] Kenny Miller gets playing too.’’

(On his 100th assist mark and the difference between assists and goals…)

DONOVAN: “I'm proud of it, very proud of it. I guess what I'm most proud of is the consistency and doing it for a number of years, like Jaime did. I've always tried to take pride in the fact that I can do it year after year, and this is a good milestone.”

“To me, they're pretty similar. Obviously, a goal is more exciting, but I'm equally proud of this. I always wanted to be a player who can score but can also help my teammates out, so this is meaningful.”

(On joining Moreno in the 100 goals and 100 assists club…)

DONOVAN: “For the years that Jaime played in this league, I always thought he was the best player in this league. He was a good player, but he was also a good pro, and he was a good teammate, and guys around the league liked him. He was always fun to watch, and the few times I had a chance to play with him were a lot of fun. In my mind, he'll always be remembered as one of the best ever to play in this league.”

READ: Landon Donovan adds another accolade to his career

17 July 7:35 pm

The LA Galaxy underwent a 90 minute training session at BC Place on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s match against the Vancouver Whitecaps. The training session was opened to the media for the first 20 minutes and closed for the remainder. Above is a photo snapped at the start of training.

*I spoke to several Galaxy players on their thoughts of Chad Barrett’s week-long trial with Vålerenga, which can be found here.  Following training, I reached out to Barrett via e-mail and the forward offered his prediction for Wednesday’s match against Vancouver: a 3-1 Galaxy win.

*Currently listed as questionable: Omar Gonzalez (L knee surgery) and Pat Noonan (R quad strain) both participated fully in the session.

*Head coach Bruce Arena was quick to tell reporters that short rest from a match on Saturday will not be a problem for either club.

*According to a Whitecaps spokesperson, Vancouver’s newest DP signing, Scotland captain Kenny Miller has his international transfer certificate, but will not play against the Galaxy.

Below are Robbie Keane’s quotes following practice:

(On facing Vancouver…)

KEANE: “It’s another important game. It’s a good result at Portland so it’s important that we keep it going and try and get six points on the road. While it’s important that we did well on Saturday, it’s important that we continue tomorrow night.”

(On Barrett’s trial…)

KEANE: “I think like any player, you want to play as much as you can. Chad wasn’t getting too many opportunities, I wish him well and I hope that everything goes well for him.”

(On BC Place…)

KEANE: “It’s a fantastic stadium, it’d be nice if it was a full house tomorrow, but we know that’s not the case. It’s a beautiful stadium and I look forward to playing in it. It’s only going to be a good trip with a win.”

(On Vancouver’s Scottish DPs, Barry Robson and Miller…)

“I’ve obviously played against them. I’ve played against Kenny a good few times and they’re two good players and they’ll certainly add to their team. Kenny has a good attitude and he’ll be a good edition to the squad.

(On Miller and Robson’s transition to MLS…)

“With any club it takes a little bit of adjusting to get used to it. Obviously, Robson and Miller wouldn’t be used to playing on plastic pitches and for them, they’ve played on field pitches all their lives so that will take a little bit of time to get used to, but they’re two good players and I think that they’ll be good additions to their squad.

17 July 3:31 pm

Hello from Vancouver, folks!

Above is a photo from the 34th floor of the team hotel, in the distance you can see Vancouver’s world famous Stanley Park.

A couple of news and notes before this afternoon’s training session…

More Chad Barrett info: In an interview with correspondent Greg Seltzer, Vålerenga press officer Lasse André Vangstein said that "[Barrett] will be with us this week, and then go back to the United States on the weekend.”

The Galaxy announced today that the match against the Colorado Rapids on September 16th will now be played on September 14th, offering LA more time to prepare for their trip five days later to take on the Puerto Rico Islanders in CONCACAF Champions League play.