Three Points: What it took for LA to knock out Vancouver in MLS Cup Playoffs
TWO GOALS IN FOUR MINUTES SAVE LA
The LA Galaxy were less than 30 minutes from elimination when Mike Magee and Landon Donovan combined to save the Galaxy’s season.
After Vancouver Whitecaps FC forward Darren Mattocks put the ‘Caps up in the third minute, the Galaxy controlled possession and the chances, but couldn’t break through. But in the 69th minute, LA struck when Mike Magee fired a right-footed volley that sailed into the back of the Vancouver net for the equalizer.
Four minutes later, LA would go up for good when defender Martin Bonjour, who had just entered the match for injured Vancouver captain Jay DeMerit, brought down Donovan in the box. The Galaxy captain stepped up to take the penalty, finishing the chance to give LA the lead.
DEFENSIVE HEROICS KEEP LA IN THE MATCH
Even though, it was goals by Magee and Donovan that gave the Galaxy the victory, LA could have been down 2-0 had it not been for a few clutch saves by Josh Saunders and Omar Gonzalez.
Just a minute before Magee’s goal, the Whitecaps caught the Galaxy on the counter as Matt Watson broke up field, firing a shot from inside the box that forced a diving stop from Saunders. Whitecaps forward Kenny Miller scooped up the rebound but had his shot blocked by Gonzalez.
The Galaxy defender would step up yet again just moments later as he and Todd Dunivant combined to stop a shot by Barry Robson. With the attack stopped, the Galaxy pushed forward eventually resulting in Magee’s game-tying-goal.
VICTORY IMMENSE CONFIDENCE BUILDER HEADING INTO SAN JOSE SERIES
For their heroic comeback against the Whitecaps, the Galaxy get to face off against their archrival San Jose Earthquakes in a Western Conference Semifinal version of the California Clasico.
Thursday’s win should serve as a major confidence booster for the Galaxy, who were able to fight back against Vancouver despite appearing visibly frustrated at times late in the first half. LA will need this as they face off against the Supporters’ Shield winning San Jose side—a team that is unbeaten against the Galaxy this season with a 2-0-1 record against LA.
The biggest question mark for LA could be the club’s health as starting right back Sean Franklin missed the match with a left leg injury, Christian Wilhelmsson missed out due to a right leg injury, and Juninho was forced to come off due to an apparent right leg injury late in the match.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com