Three Points: LA Galaxy look to shutdown high-flying Whitecaps

Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano’s Three Points to the Galaxy’s clash with Vancouver Whitecaps FC

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CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano breaks down LA’s match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC. LA dropped the first meeting of the year between the two sides, falling 3-1 on May 11 at BC Place.

HIGH FLYING VANCOUVER REPRESENT A MAJOR TEST

Vancouver Whitecaps FC arrive at StubHub Center as one of the hottest clubs in MLS, riding a six-game unbeaten run with wins in five of their last six matches.

Key to their recent success has been the play of forward Camilo, who currently leads the league in goals scored with 12—seven of which have come during the Whitecaps’ recent torrid run. A talented forward, who can also finish as well as distribute, Camilo’s ability to combine with the midfield is vital to the Vancouver’s fast-paced attack. The Brazilian won’t be the only weapon for the Whitecaps as they’ll welcome back midfielder Russell Teibert, who scored two goals against the Galaxy in their last meeting at BC Place. Finally healthy from an illness that forced his early exit from Canada’s CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign, Teibert is expected to slide into his place on the right side of the midfield against the LA.

Seminal to the Galaxy’s hopes of containing the Whitecaps attack will be the presence of center back Omar Gonzalez, who will remain with LA before joining up with the U.S. National Team at the Gold Cup on Sunday. Gonzalez and his fellow center back A.J. DeLaGarza must be aware at all times of the speedy Vancouver attackers for LA to shut down the Whitecaps offense.

WHO FILLS IN FOR ROBBIE KEANE?

LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane has not trained at all this week as he battles through a hip flexor injury, which means that head coach Bruce Arena may have to call upon some of his young charges to lead the way against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

The two likeliest possibilities to start alongside Gyasi Zardes are fellow Homegrown forwards Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal, who have each scored a goal of their own this season, but have played sparingly over the past few weeks. Villarreal appears to be the front runner for Arena to replace Keane as he was the head coach’s first choice forward off the bench during LA’s defeat in Portland, but McBean’s physicality makes him a tempting choice to pair with the speedy Zardes.

The absence of Keane, who has two goals and two assists in four previous regular season meetings with the Whitecaps but missed the first meeting in May with an ankle injury, is a major loss to the Galaxy attack, which will miss his finishing touch and playmaking ability. However, all is not lost without the Irish forward. When Arena runs out two of his Homegrown forwards together, LA’s attack is more energetic and will look to outwork the opposing defense.

LOCK DOWN THE LAST 15

The broken record keeps on spinning for the LA Galaxy, who continue to allow late goals, which has cost them substantial points as of late.

LA’s 2-1 defeat to the Portland Timbers last week was the latest in a long line of late game collapses for the Galaxy, who have conceded 15 times in the last 15 minutes of games. Eight of those goals have come in second half stoppage time, and when LA concedes in that fashion, they’re a disappointing 0-6-0.

How do LA solve this problem? If the Galaxy hold a lead as the clock edges toward 90 minutes, look for them to try to hold the result by managing the game in a variety of ways such as earning set piece opportunities or running time off the clock by taking the ball to the corner flag.  The Galaxy have repeatedly stated that they’ll need to focus and concentrate in the last 15 minutes, but the match against Vancouver offers them their latest opportunity to prove they can fix this recurring issue.

Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com