The LA Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps tonight 2-0, but 20,168 in attendance at this Labor Day weekend match were treated to some laborious soccer. While Juninho had his moment of brilliance, the rest of the match was clunky, while neither team showing great form. Vancouver only had one shot, as they rested starters for this match against the team ahead of them in the standings.
"The Juninho goal was huge," said Bruce Arena. "You can tell in the second half they were fatigued."
Juninho finally broke open the match just before halftime. The play began on the sideline with Hector Jimenez saving a ball then sending it back in. Robbie Keane redirected the ball in to Juninho who took a touch to corral the ball then let it hit sky. The screamer blew past Brad Knighton who started in place of Joe Cannon tonight for his third appearance of the year.
David Beckham made it two-nil with a 79' free kick goal. Robbie Keane earned the foul just outside the penalty area trying to dribble around his marker. Beckham stepped up and completely froze backup goalkeeper Brad Knighton who seemed starstruck as he watched Beckham's goal go by.
"I knew if I put it in the corner, the keeper wasn't getting there," said David Beckham. "I hit it well. One of their players kept going back and forth, back and forth. I knew once I hit it, I'd caught it well."
The Galaxy will start paying closer attention to the standings, now that we've entered September. Real Salt Lake was in action today against DC United and won 1-0. Seattle will battle FC Dallas tomorrow. Dallas now has a bit of a cushion, while Seattle will feel the pressure with the Galaxy now level on points.
Juninho's goal was his sixth in five matches including the CCL. He's been absolutely on fire, something Bruce Arena attributes to Juninho getting back in shape. Whatever Juninho's doing, it's certainly working. He's building confidence and his skill is just shining through.
The LA Galaxy have gotten seven goals from David Beckham and five from Juninho this year to supplement the 18 from their forwards Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, which has been instrumental in propelling them up in the table. With 48 goals on the year, the Galaxy have equaled their goal total from last year.