Match Preview presented by O4 Water: LA Galaxy look to snap MLS winless streak against Vancouver

CARSON, Calif. – It didn’t count in the MLS regular-season standings, but Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers may have been just what the Galaxy needed.

The five-time MLS Cup champions certainly appear to be in a positive frame of mind entering Monday’s Western Conference clash with Vancouver at StubHub Center (7:30 p.m., Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Time Warner Cable Deportes).

“It was huge,” the Galaxy’s Mike Magee said of the hard-earned win fashioned on a fifth-minute goal by Raul Mendiola.

“It’s hard to win on the road, especially in Portland. A knockout game, short-handed … it was amazing.

“The way we did it, everyone fought and ran. It feels good to win.”

Added goalkeeper Brian Rowe, “Definitely one of those where in that locker room after the game everyone’s in a good mood. You remember what it feels like to get that result and win again.

“Definitely one of those we’re hoping to build on.”

The victory certainly was long overdue for a Galaxy (5-3-8, 23 points) side that hasn’t beaten an MLS opponent since a 4-2 victory over New England on May 8 at StubHub Center. They have gone 0-2-5 in league games since.

Much of their struggles can be traced to injuries and player absences – Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes, however, just returned from month-long international duties and are expected to be available for Monday’s game – along with a defense that had developed a disturbing trend of allowing late goals.

But not Wednesday.

“We’ve been blowing games left and right,” Magee said. “Then go figure the game we score a goal in the fifth minute and we hold on for 85 minutes.

“It’s unlike us as of late. But I got a feeling that’s what we’re going to turn into.”

The Galaxy, who will be without defenders Ashley Cole and Jelle Van Damme on Monday (red-card ejection and yellow-card accumulation, respectively), are winless in seven games, their longest such streak since the 2012 season.

They will face a Vancouver (7-7-3, 24 points) team coming off 3-2 victory at Philadelphia on June 25. Pedro Morales leads the way with six goals, including three game-winners. He also has four assists. Goalkeeper Pat Ousted leads the league with 62 saves and has a 1.71 goals-against average.

Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said he expects a formidable challenge, to say the least.

“Like any team in the league they usually come into StubHub Center and have a fairly defensive posture,” he said. “We expect them to sit back a little bit and utilize the speed of (Kekuta) Manneh on the left side and (Erik) Hurtado and (Christian) Bolanos across their front line. They’re tough to play against, they have a good defense and an outstanding goalkeeper in Ousted.

“It will be a typical MLS game. It will be tough.”

STUBHUB CENTER • Carson, California
July 4, 2016 • Week 17 • MLS Game #171

  • Giovani dos Santos put an end to the Galaxy’s goalless drought after three complete games and 371 minutes – the second-longest shutout streak in MLS this season – but they still reached a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Stanford Stadium. The Galaxy had their winless streak extended to seven games, the club’s longest since the 2012 season.
  • Whitecaps FC snapped their three-game winless run, coming back for a 3-2 victory against Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening at Talen Energy Stadium.
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. They reached a scoreless draw April 2 at BC Place.
  • Whitecaps FC have a three-game undefeated streak alive in the series, after winning both league meetings between the teams in 2015. The Galaxy were 9-1-2 vs. Vancouver over the first 12 meetings between the teams, before last season.
  • The Whitecaps FC win in the second meeting a year ago, on June 6, was their first ever vs. the Galaxy in Carson. The Galaxy had won the first six regular season home meetings with Whitecaps FC, outscoring them 13-1; they also took a victory there in the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs, a 2-1 win in the Knockout Round.