CARSON -- The LA Galaxy stuck to their guns in midfield and Robbie Keane broke free just after halftime to deliver a 1-0 triumph Saturday night over visiting Vancouver, setting up an intriguing rematch next weekend in Canada.
Keane rifled home a Stefan Ishizaki cross in the 47th minute and the Galaxy claimed their second straight victory while Landon Donovan was forced to await at least another week before making MLS scoring history.
LA held possession for huge swaths of play, but sloppy passing and fierce defensive pressure from the Whitecaps' speedy attackers gave Vancouver three super scoring opportunities in the first half. Not much materialized for Vancouver after halftime, however, despite bringing Kenny Miller, Erik Hurtado and Nicolas Mezquida off the bench in the final 20 minutes.
The Galaxy made one change to the lineup they fielded in last weekend's SuperClasico victory over Chivas USA, with A.J. DeLaGarza returning from a ankle/shin bruise to replace Todd Dunivant, out with a abdominal strain, at left back.
The Whitecaps switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation they used in their first two games, with Sebastian Fernandez and Kekuta Manneh starting in midfield, top scorer Miller moving to the bench and midfielder Matias Laba suspended after picking up two yellow cards in last week's loss at Colorado.
LA's diamond midfield had its desired impact early, with the Galaxy dictating terms for most of the first 20 minutes, but they were sloppy with the ball and struggled to turn possession into chances. They put just one shot on frame in the first half, an eighth-minute Keane drive at goalkeeper David Ousted following a give-and-go with Baggio Husidic.
Husidic nodded a corner kick over the crossbar in the 14th minute, and Donovan -- still seeking goal No. 135 -- was off-target twice, heading wide left from Dan Gargan's cross in the 40th minute and firing high from Ishizaki's feed in the 43rd.
Vancouver's attacking speed caused the Galaxy's defense problems, and goalkeeper Jaime Penedo had to make three big saves to keep things even. He stopped Darren Mattocks at the right post in the 20th after the Whitecaps forward swiped a lazy pass near midfield, parried another Mattocks shot from a Pedro Morales pass in the 32nd, then halted Manneh one-on-one after Morales' diagonal ball got past Gargan in the 45th.
Keane struck in the 47th minute, racing onto a ball sent in from Ishizaki. The Swedish midfielder, in his best performance since joining the Galaxy, squared up with Jay DeMerit at the right edge of the Vancouver box, then sent in a cross to the far post that an open Keane buried.
The Galaxy nearly added to their lead, but Donovan fired at Ousted in the 49th minute, second-half substitute Rob Friend shot just past the left post on an 82nd-minute breakaway, and Keane chipped over the crossbar in a one-on-one situation in the 88th.
LA Galaxy 1, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0
Saturday, April 12, 2014
MLS Regular Season
StubHub Center – Carson, Calif.
LA – Robbie Keane 47’ (Assisted by Stefan Ishizaki)
LA Galaxy: Jaime Penedo; Dan Gargan, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, A.J. DeLaGarza; Marcelo Sarvas (Rob Friend 79’), Juninho, Stefan Ishizaki (Gyasi Zardes 79’), Baggio Husidic; Robbie Keane©, Landon Donovan
Substitutes Not Used: Brian Perk, Tommy Meyer, Kofi Opare, Kenney Walker, Samuel
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: David Outsed; Jordan Harvey, Jay DeMerit©, Andy O’Brien, Steven Beitashour; Russell Teibert, Gershon Koffie, Sebastian Fernandez (Erik Hurtado 70’), Pedro Morales (Kenny Miller 70’); Kekuta Manneh (Nicolas Mezquida 77’), Darren Mattocks
Substitutes Not Used: Nigel Reo-Coker, Johnny Leveron, Ethan Sampson, Paolo Tornaghi
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee’s Assistants: Adam Garner and Mark Cahen
4th Official: Ricardo Salazar
- With the win, the Galaxy are now 7-1-1 against Vancouver Whitecaps FC all-time.
- The Galaxy are 5-0-0, having scored 11 goals and only allowed one in matches played in California.
- With the win, the Galaxy are now 2-1-1 on the season, leaving them with 7 points.
- The Galaxy have never lost to Whitecaps FC at StubHub Center and have only suffered one loss to the Canadian side since the club’s MLS debut in 2011.
- Robbie Keane notched his third goal of the season and third in consecutive league fixtures. Keane has 37 goals and 22 assists in 59 MLS appearances since joining the Galaxy in 2011.
- LA Galaxy have outscored Vancouver Whitecaps 19-6 in their last 9 MLS meetings. Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane have scored 7 of the 19 goals.
- Four Galaxy players have appeared in all four MLS regular season games with Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, Juninho, and Omar Gonzalez starting each.
- Stefan Ishizaki tallied his second assist in MLS.
- Defender Dan Gargan made his second consecutive MLS regular season start for the LA Galaxy, starting in his 104th match in his nine-year MLS career.
- Jaime Penedo was back in goal after Brian Perk started the last two MLS games. Penedo is now 5-2-4 with five shutouts in eleven career outings with the Galaxy.
- Todd Dunivant was unavailable tonight with an abdominal strain.
- The Galaxy are 10-3-5 when Donovan and Keane appear together with 26 goals and 18 assists among them.
- The Galaxy outshot Vancouver Whitecaps 13-10.
- The Galaxy return to MLS action on Saturday, April 19 when they travel to Vancouver to face Whitecaps FC at BC Place. The game will kick off at 4:00 p.m. and will be broadcasted live on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes.