CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy didn’t waste any time Saturday night against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Quickly leaving behind any doubt following their 4-1 loss last weekend to the Columbus Crew, the Galaxy (11-5-7) have now won two straight and climbed within two points of Western Conference leading FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders.
The fifth-place Whitecaps (7-5-12), who had shut out their three previous foes, missed an opportunity to climb closer to the top four in the West, remaining nine points behind the leaders and seven back of the Galaxy. The loss ended their six-game unbeaten streak, in which they drew five times.
The Galaxy made two changes from their midweek lineup against Colorado, with A.J. DeLaGarza returning at left back and Baggio Husidic in midfield for Stefan Ishizaki, who skipped the game with a minor toe injury.
Mehdi Ballouchy got his first start for the Whitecaps since July 19, in for the suspendedMatias Laba, in midfield next to Russell Teibert, who again got the call for the injured Gershon Koffie. Pedro Morales was back in his familiar spot, behind forward Darren Mattocks, and Kekuta Manneh stepped in for Erik Hurtado for his first start since July 12.
Mauro Rosales, acquired Thursday in a trade from Chivas USA, came on at halftime for Vancouver and Hurtado entered with about 25 minutes to go, to no avail.
The Galaxy controlled possession for much of the game, patiently connecting passes through midfield and above and around the Whitecaps’ box. They first prospered when Robbie Keane’s touch betrayed him.
Sarvas chipped a ball from the right flank into the middle of the Whitecaps’ box. It bounced toward the top of the box, and Keane ran onto it and half-volleyed a shot that bounded through traffic to the far post, where Donovan stepped up to poke it into the ceiling of the net.
It was a welcomed departure for LA, who had conceded the first goal in their past four and five of their past six games, to end Vancouver’s shutout streak at 325 minutes.
Sarvas scored on LA’s next good chance, nearly a half-hour later.
Donovan sent a ball from the left into the box for Sarvas, who back-heeled it centrally to Keane. The Irishman set up to shoot, but he nudged the ball too far with his right foot and whiffed when he tried to hit it with his left.
The ball slowly rolled past two defenders toward the left post, and Sarvas fired under goalkeeper David Ousted and inside the far post.
Vancouver’s best chance came in the 81st minute, when Mattocks forced a diving save from Jaime Penedo. The Panamanian goalkeeper also went to the ground to stop Manneh after a long run to LA’s box in the 55th.
The Galaxy are home again Wednesday night against D.C. United, a game postponed from March, then have their final SuperClasico of the season against Chivas USA next Sunday. The Whitecaps start a three-game homestand next Saturday against Portland.
LA Galaxy 2, Vancouver Whitecaps 0
Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014 – 7:30 p.m. PT
MLS Regular Season
StubHub Center – Carson, Calif.
LA – Landon Donovan (Assisted by Robbie Keane) 4’
LA – Marcelo Sarvas (Assisted by Robbie Keane) 32’
LA – Dan Gargan (caution) 21’
VAN – Mehdi Ballouchy (caution) 60’
LA – A.J. DeLaGarza (caution) 78’
LA – Marcelo Sarvas (caution) 80’
LA – Omar Gonzalez (caution) 83’
VAN – Kendall Watson (caution) 87’
VAN – Johnny Leveron (ejection) 90’
LA Galaxy: Jaime Penedo; Dan Gargan (Todd Dunivant 84’), Omar Gonzalez Leonardo, A.J. DeLaGarza; Baggio Husidic (Alan Gordon 74’), Juninho, Marcelo Sarvas, Landon Donovan; Robbie Keane ©, Gyasi Zardes,
Substitutes Not Used: Brian Rowe, Oscar Sorto, Raul Mendiola, Charlie Rugg, Rafael Garcia.
TOTAL SHOTS: 22; SHOTS ON GOAL: 7; FOULS: 10; OFFSIDE: 1; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 3.
Vancouver Whitecaps: David Ousted; Jordan Harvey, Johnny Leveron, Steven Beitashour, Andy O’Brien; Mehdi Ballouchy (Erik Hurtado 66’), Pedro Morales ©, Russell Teibert, Sebastian Fernandez (Mauro Rosales 45’); Darron Mattocks, Kekuta Manneh (Kendall Watson 79’).
Substitutes Not Used: Nicolas Mezquida, Omar Salgado, Sam Adekugbe, Paolo Tornaghi.
TOTAL SHOTS: 6; SHOTS ON GOAL: 3; FOULS: 12; OFFSIDE:1; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 4.
Referee: Allen Chapman
Referee’s Assistants: Jeff Muschik and Felisha Mariscal
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal