Galaxy, Whitecaps ready for critical West clash
Carson, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of Western Conference rivals will clash on Saturday in hopes of climbing up the standings as the Los Angeles Galaxy welcome Vancouver Whitecaps FC to the StubHub Center.
Los Angles will hope to capitalize on some positive momentum gained from a thrilling 4-3 win over the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
The early going belonged to the hosts as Colorado got off the mark in the 14th minute. Deshorn Brown's shot was parried away by Jaime Penedo but only as far as Marlon Hairston, who managed to turn in the rebound from a tough angle.
The Rapids doubled their advantage in the 17th minute with Edson Buddle beating Leonardo to Dillon Powers' corner kick to send a powerful header past Penedo.
The Galaxy, though, wasted little time in getting the goal back as Robbie Keane answered within three minutes, bagging his 13th goal of the campaign by nodding Dan Gargan's lofted cross just inside the far post.
But Colorado managed to restore its two-goal lead prior to halftime as Marc Burch sent a stunning free kick off the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net in the 30th minute.
LA pulled a second goal back in the 55th minute when Omar Gonzalez was first Landon Donovan's free kick into the box. The United States international beat Clint Irwin to the delivery and sent a glancing header into the unguarded net.
Alan Gordon drew the Galaxy level in 68th minute by taking a header from Gonzalez and tucking home the finish from close range.
The comeback was complete in the 80th minute when Keane slipped a pass into the path of Donovan's darting run, allowing the Galaxy talisman to get around Irwin and seal the win with his sixth league goal of the campaign.
"I think the second half was the defining moment in our season," Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. "The guys showed a lot of character, played well on a night where we were so sloppy in that first half."
Vancouver, meanwhile, is coming off a scoreless draw against Chivas USA last time out which extended the club's unbeaten streak to six matches.
The 'Caps had the first chance of the match in the seventh minute as a nice combination between Jordan Harvey and Sebastian Fernandez on the left resulted in a Nicolas Mezquida attempt from outside the box, but the Uruguayan's right- footed strike sailed over the goal.
"I think the main thing is that we're not losing. It's helping keep a good mentality in our locker room," said Vancouver defender Steven Beitashour. "We're a little frustrated with the offensive performance today, but defensively we're doing a great job and sticking together, working hard. We knew it was going to be a fight and we showed up out there tonight."
Saturday's clash will be the third meeting of the season between the sides, which played to a 2-2 stalemate at BC Place on April 19.
08/22 20:10:21 ET