The LA Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 on Saturday night at the StubHub! Center, but the scoreline betrays how much control LA had of this match. With Juninho backing things up and Stefan Ishizaki the point of the attack, the two linked up to get the ball on the right flank which was whipped in for the Galaxy's lone goal.
LA continues to make solid use of short passing, tallying 562 total passes with an accuracy around 84%. That led to LA dominating possession, and they got eleven shots from open play as a result; but only three of their thirteen shots ending up on target shows finishing is still an issue for the club.
Robbie Keane with sixty-two touches and four dribbles won was a constant visual reminder of the level of skill this club possesses. His goal was relatively straight-forward, all he had to do was refrain from over-thinking, but he also used his dribbling ability to charge through the Vancouver back line and on a couple of occasions save possession for LA.
However, with the offense controlling without producing, it's a good time to remember how great the defensive performances had to be. Omar Gonzalez was especially good tonight, winning balls in the air and racking up twenty-one successful clearances. He also won four offside plays, and showed great intelligence in dealing with the speedy forwards Vancouver has. On one play in particular, realising Mattocks was fighting him instead of looking for the ball, Gonzalez made a dummy run away from the direction of the ball taking Mattocks completely out of the play.
Penedo was also excellent, returning after getting a match off. He made more saves than Ousted, but few of them tried him all that hard. There was a ball just before halftime that was going underneath him but for an outstretched right arm.
In the end the Galaxy missed more big chances than they made, while the defense helf Vancouver without any. The Whitecaps were forced to settle for creating chances from long-shot situations. Despite an efficient looking attacking performance, the clean-sheet is more the story of how things transpired than anything else.