VANCOUVER, Canada -- Three points looking ahead to Wednesday’s match against the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place (7 p.m. PT, KDOC, KWHY, 1330 AM, LIVE CHAT)…
CAN THE GOALS KEEP COMING?
The LA Galaxy’s goal barrage in their 5-3 victory over the Portland Timbers on Saturday was impressive, but can they keep up their torrid scoring run against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday.
During the Galaxy’s recent run of five wins in their last seven matches, the club’s offense has scored at a blistering pace with 18 goals in that stretch.
Highlights: LA vs VAN (June 23)
On Wednesday, LA will face an experienced Whitecaps backline that will likely make just one change from Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the Chicago Fire as Jordan Harvey replaces the suspended Alain Rochat on the left side. The match provides extra motivation for Vancouver as they were torched during the last meeting between the two clubs on June 23rd at The Home Depot Center, conceding three goals in the first half of a 3-0 Galaxy victory. Since that defeat, the Whitecaps’ defense has tightened significantly and has allowed just four goals in their last four contests, including two shutouts.
Both teams expect to start aggressively as the match could be a tipping point for both sides as with a victory in Vancouver, LA would pull to within one point of the Whitecaps for the fourth spot in the Western Conference standings.
TIGHTEN UP ON SET PIECES
While goals have come in bunches for the offense, LA’s defense has continued to be inconsistent, predominantly on set piece opportunities.
In the Galaxy’s dramatic victory in Portland, the club’s inability to defend on the Timbers on set pieces proved to be the lone black mark as all three goals conceded by LA came off dead ball opportunities. Recently, these defensive lapses have become all too common as nine of the last 16 goals that LA has conceded have come on set pieces. They will be tested again on Wednesday as the Whitecaps have shown proficiency this season for creating dangerous set piece opportunities.
For LA to improve, the team will not only need to limit the Whitecaps chances on set pieces, but also receive a steady performance from goalkeeper Josh Saunders, who was inconsistent at times against Portland and visibly upset for his role in surrendering a rebound that led to the Timbers second goal.
In order to pull off a victory at BC Place, the Galaxy defensive must slow down the blistering speed of exciting Whitecaps rookie forward Darren Mattocks.
With a mix of speed, a deft touch and incredible athleticism, 21-year-old Jamaican forward has come on as of late scoring at a blistering pace with six goals in his last seven games. Not only does Mattocks lift the Vancouver attack, but usually more often than not, his goals often translate into points as the Whitecaps are 2-1-1 when the Jamaican scores. With forward Eric Hassli out with a right ankle sprain and newly signed Scottish DP Kenny Miller unavailable, the Whitecaps attack will be spearheaded by the ever-dangerous Mattocks on Wednesday.
Although the forward has quickly become of the most explosive players in MLS, Mattocks has struggled at times, particularly, during the June 23rd match between the two teams as he found himself isolated up top with the Galaxy controlling the tempo. If LA is to keep the Jamaican off the board, they will once again need to limit his touches and prevent him from using his speed to create space behind the defense.
Read Adam Serrano’s LA Galaxy Insider blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider