CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy’s 29-game unbeaten streak came to an end on Saturday as the team fell 1-0 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Vancouver speedster Kekuta Manneh scored the only goal on the night to give the Whitecaps their first win at StubHub Center in seven attempts. LA’s loss was their first at home since a 1-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake on March 9, 2014.
The Galaxy had built their undefeated streak on timely offense aided by their vast home field, but on Saturday, their big guns fell silent. Against an organized Vancouver side, the defending MLS Cup champions failed to register a shot on goal for the first time since April 7, 2012. The defeat was only the third time in Galaxy history that the team had been held without a shot on goal.
“We didn’t play obviously as well as we had too. They played well, give them credit,” said Robbie Keane who went 90 minutes for the first time since LA’s defeat to Vancouver on April 4. “The game plan was to stop the balls in the middle, and go through the middle. They defended well so full credit to them; they deserved to win the game.”
The match was a defensive struggle until Manneh struck in the 32nd minute. From there, Vancouver was content to invite pressure and allow the Galaxy to press the visitors in search of the equalizer, and then strike back on the counter.
Despite a heavy possession advantage in the home side’s favor, turnovers in the final third and an organized Whitecaps defense kept the Galaxy off the scoresheet.
“Conceding that goal in the first half, it was tailor made for their team. The way they play, and with their speed on the counter, and we gave away a ball in our middle third of the field and they got a goal,” Arena said. “They certainly did a very good job having good numbers behind the ball, and countering us in the second half. We had some chances to have a little bit better quality, perhaps create a few dangerous chances, but we fell short.”
Added second-half substitute Alan Gordon, “It wasn’t a good night for us. It’s pretty obvious.”
As frustrating as the defeat was, leave it to Keane to provide a little reality—and possibly a silver lining—to his deflated teammates.
“This was always going to happen. That’s just the way it is,” Keane said. “It’s impossible to go so many games without losing at home. I’d prefer to get it out of the way now then coming into the playoffs.”
Next up for the Galaxy is a trip to Columbus, Ohio to face the Columbus Crew. At Crew Stadium next week, the Galaxy will look to end their ignominious 14-game winless run away from StubHub Center.
“Obviously we had a tough one [against Vancouver]. I think it was a long month of May. Maybe guys were a bit tired and we just have to bounce back, I know we will,” said defender Omar Gonzalez. “It’s going to be a tough game in Columbus. It’ll be long travel and we just have to bite down and just grind another win.”