LA Galaxy looking to start strong against Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Saturday’s match with Vancouver is live on TWC SportsNet and TWC Deportes at 7:30p.m.

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy showed in their dramatic 4-3 comeback against the Colorado Rapids that they can erase an early deficit, but ahead of Saturday’s clash with Vancouver Whitecaps FC (7:30 p.m., Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Time Warner Cable Deportes), they’d like to show that they can start fast too.

Despite the Galaxy’s impressive 2-1-1 record in their last four games, the Galaxy have conceded first each time. When allowing the first goal, LA has stumbled with a 2-5-4 record compared to an 8-0-3 mark when scoring first.

With their dramatic comeback in Colorado still in the back of their minds, the Galaxy insist that the team needs a stronger mentality from the opening whistle.

“Sometimes you go into these slumps, but I’m just happy that in this slump, we’ve only lost one game,” Defender Omar Gonzalez told reporters on Friday. “I’m just happy that we’re back at home and hopefully, we’re going to get over this slump. We’re playing a tough Vancouver team that is going to come out on fire and it’s an important one if we want to move up the ladder.”

And the best way to start strong in the eyes of Galaxy right back Dan Gargan is by getting that opening goal. 

“We’ve clearly showed that we can come back and respond to being down, but I think that it just makes it harder. With a lot of games coming up, we could use some performances where they’re not the toughest to have while still getting three points,” said Gargan. “We want to make sure that we’re keeping clean sheets and putting teams on the back foot rather than going down and having to claw our way back into the game.”

Three points against Vancouver could be vital for the Galaxy’s hopes of challenging for the top seed in the Western Conference and, possibly, the Supporters’ Shield. Currently, the Galaxy sit just four points ahead of fifth place Whitecaps FC with a game in hand.

“Vancouver is sitting right on our shoulder and they’re a good young team,” said Gargan. “We have to solidify some things [defensively] to make sure that we’re good and tight and playing from minute one.”

Vancouver pose a major challenge, however, as the Whitecaps are undefeated in their last six games. Leading the way for Vancouver is Chilean midfielder Pedro Morales who has tallied seven goals and nine assists in his first season in MLS. The Whitecaps bolstered their attack ahead of the stretch run on Thursday with the acquisition of veteran Chivas USA midfielder Mauro Rosales who has tallied eight assists on the year for the Rojiblancos. 

“The Vancouver game is a six-point game,” said Landon Donovan. “When you play games at home, you have to get points. The way that the league is going, we might find ourselves at the top at the end [of the season] and that starts Saturday against the Whitecaps.”

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