Tonight at the Home Depot Center the LA Galaxy face their neighbors from far north, the Vancouver Whitecaps, for the second and final time this season. In their last meeting in late June, the Galaxy shut-out the Whitecaps in a 4-0 victory, with Landon Donovan, Sean Franklin, and Adam Cristman all scoring goals. The Galaxy are currently in first place in MLS, while the Whitecaps are in last place. Not only are the Galaxy in first place, they are the only team in MLS that are unbeaten at home this season (9-0-5). The Whitecaps' away record is 0-10-5. After securing their playoff birth last Friday in a 1-0 win against the Colorado Rapids, the Galaxy are now focused on securing the Supporter's Shield for the second year in a row.
It appears the statistics are on the Galaxy's side tonight, and hopefully with a little help Landon Donovan will continue his quest for the MLS Golden Boot. During the match against the Colorado Rapids, Donovan scored his 20th goal of the season, and is now tied with the New York Red Bulls' Thierry Henry for first place in the race for the Golden Boot. And unlike Wednesday's defeat in the CONCACAF Champion's League match against Moralia, the Galaxy will have both David Beckham and Donovan Ricketts on their side. With only five matches remaining this season, the pressure to collect points and remain in first place is stronger than ever before.
While the Galaxy have a formidable side, they should not underestimate the Whitecaps. The Whitecaps have not lost in two matches, and may be hitting a winning stride. In their match last Saturday at Red Bull Arena, the Whitecaps nearly defeated the Red Bulls; instead they captured a 1-1 draw due to a late goal by Juan Agudelo of the Red Bulls. The Whitecaps' striker, Davide Chiumiento, scored his first goal since May 11 and won both Man of the Match and the AT&T Goal of the Week. On August 27th, the Whitecaps beat the Houston Dynamo in a 1-0 win at home, with Shea Salinas scoring a late goal and securing the win.
The Galaxy are in a good place right now, but they must focus during this match and win the three points at home. They cannot underestimate the Whitecaps, especially since the Whitecaps have nothing to lose and have been playing consistent soccer the last couple of weeks. Fortunately Beckham and Ricketts will play during this match, and Donovan appears to be on a goal scoring mission. One can only hope these factors will secure the Galaxy three points and get us closer to that second Supporters Shield.