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Whitecaps outclassed by Galaxy in California

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Whether or not the Vancouver Whitecaps were overawed by the LA Galaxy may be up for debate, but one thing is sure – they were wholly outclassed on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center.

Falling 3-0 to the defending MLS Cup champions, it never really looked like the Whitecaps were in the match, especially in a first half in which the home side dictated play and bagged goals courtesy of Mike Magee, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan.

“Whenever you lose you do have to look at yourself and you’re disappointed with things that of course you could have done better,” head coach Martin Rennie told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410 radio following the match. “But tonight the L.A. Galaxy were really good, especially Donovan and Keane were really, really difficult to play against. Their movement, their quality really stood out. Their midfield’s passing and movement was of a really high standard.

“Just being absolutely honest, that’s the best 45 minutes any team has put against since I’ve been in MLS.”

Magee got the Galaxy on the scoresheet 16 minutes in, jamming home a loose ball off a Beckham corner which the Whitecaps failed to clear. Goalkeeper Joe Cannon attempted to slap the ball away but knocked it right into the path of the Chicago native who didn’t hesitate.

Keane doubled Vancouver’s misery by beating three defenders in the box before slotting home at the half hour mark, dribbling in on the left side of the area beating Cannon at the far post, leaving Lee Young-Pyo, Gershon Koffie and Martin Bonjour wondering what happened.

L.A.’s Irish star once again played a part in the final goal of the match, getting on the end of a wonderful through ball from Beckham before generating a penalty. Vancouver captain Jay DeMerit was the one who conceded it, as his arm blocked Keane’s attempted shot from close range.

Donovan stepped up to take the penalty, sending Cannon the wrong way from the spot as he placed the ball in the left side of the goal.

“Robbie Keane has just come back from playing against the best players in the world,” Rennie said. “Only a few days ago in the [European Championships with the Republic of Ireland]. His movement and his link up play, along with the penetration of Donovan and the other players that were around him were just very difficult to play against.”

Beckham too showed his quality throughout the first half, spraying the ball around comfortably and demonstrating his desire to make the London 2012 Olympic squad.

“Beckham is a football icon for a reason,” Rennie said. “Not just because of things off the field but because he’s a very good player and because he’s a very hard worker. He’s someone who has always been a hard working player, who always covers a lot of ground, who always shows a good attitude, and that’s why he’s achieved what he’s achieved in the game.

“There’s definitely things where our players and for young players and for other people to learn from the way he goes about doing things.”
While the Galaxy certainly seemed to be in top gear throughout the first half, it was Vancouver’s unwillingness or inability to get stuck in which came off as particularly discouraging for some players.

“[In the first half] I can’t remember a hard tackle or someone taking the initiative to maybe change the complexion of the game,” Cannon said. “It’s a loss. Hopefully some guys got some autographs tonight, because that might be the only thing you got out of it.”

The Whitecaps now have a week and a half break before playing the Colorado Rapids on the road on July 4. That match will be the first in which newly signed designated player Barry Robson is available for selection.

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


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