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Galaxy scores two late goals to spoil Whitecaps’ effort

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A late meltdown cost the Vancouver Whitecaps a win Wednesday night, as the Los Angeles Galaxy scored twice in the final 10 minutes to salvage an unlikely draw.

David Beckham got the comeback started with an 81st minute effort after Landon Donovan teed him up. The play developed after substitute Bryan Gaul’s cross rebounded off the crossbar, before the ball fell to the American international.

Youngster Jose Villarreal followed that up with a curling effort in the 87th minute to bring the score to its 2-2 final.

“Let’s face it — I think you could say we stole a point here,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters following the match.

“We took a lot of risks in the second half to try and get a goal, and then trailing in the last 10 minutes really opened ourselves up and were fortunate not to concede a goal there. Great finish by Villareal. A great point to get on the road. I think the Whitecaps played well tonight and (will be) certainly disappointed in the result.”

While the result was disappointing, the Whitecaps will take great encouragement from the performance of Designated Player Barry Robson’s performance on his home debut. The Scot scored a wonderful headed effort and nearly bagged a late winner with a powerful long-range free kick in stoppage time.

“It never finished the way I wanted it to,” Robson said. “That’s football for you. In a game with such good players you’re playing against, they’re always going to have a spell where they come at you. That’s what they did in the last 20 minutes, 30 minutes. We didn’t cope with them, we didn’t deal with that well. It’s something we need to go on the training ground and work at and hopefully deal with it better next time.”

Robson and Beckham seemed to have a one-on-one battle going on throughout the game, exchanging words and tackles on numerous occasions. But it was all business, according to Vancouver’s feisty left-footer.

“He’s a terrific footballer and he’s a great ambassador for the game,” Robson said. “A lot of people look up to him. He’s a terrific talent and a nice guy as well. When you’re on a football pitch I’m sure it doesn’t matter who anybody is, and I don’t care who anybody is. So at the end of the day I’m just trying to win it for my team and he’s trying to win it for his.”

Robson also linked up well with fellow goalscorer Gershon Koffie, who scored a well-taken goal in the 18th minute, as he juked past David Junior Lopes before slotting a ball into the bottom right of Josh Saunders’ goal.

“He’s easy — because he’s a good player,” Robson said of playing with Koffie. “He’s a young kid and we’re going to make him better and he will get better. These are the players we need to keep at this football club. They’re the ones that are the future of this football club.”

Ultimately while there were positives to be taken from the way the match started, the final 10 minutes left a sour taste.

“We did everything we could to make it a win today,” Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie said. “Unfortunately it was a tie for us so now we have to make sure we bounce back well for Sunday against a good San Jose [Earthquakes] team. Who knows, that point could be the key point to get to where we want to be at the end of the season.”

The Whitecaps move to 8-6-7 with the draw and host the Earthquakes at BC Place on Sunday.

Martin MacMahon is a Vancouver-based soccer writer. Follow him on Twitter: @martinmacmahon


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