The LA Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 with a Landon Donovan penalty ending up the match winner. As a result of the win the LA Galaxy move on the Western Conference quarterfinals where they'll meet San Jose. The opening match is Sunday at The Home Depot Center, with the return leg in San Jose.
The penalty was awarded after Martin Bonjour took down Landon Donovan in the 71' with the match knotted at one. Donovan then stepped up to take the penalty, chipping it left after making Brad Knighton dive right. It was a satisfying goal after a week of doubt.
"It's the kind of game we expected," said Bruce Arena. "We thought we'd have a lot of the ball, Vancouver'd get numbers behind the ball and make it difficult for us. We really put ourselves in a difficult position conceding the goal in the early minutes of the game. We showed a lot of character to scrap and fight and get back in that game."
The Galaxy went down early after Matt Watson was able to dribble around Hector Jimenez who started in place of the injured Sean Franklin. Omar Gonzalez wasn't able to get over in time to stop the pass to Darren Mattocks who slotted it home in the far corner for the opening goal in the third minute.
It wasn't until after halftime that the Galaxy were able to pull level. Bruce Arena pulled Hector Jimenez in favor of Marcelo Sarvas in reaction to the overly defensive style Vancouver was showing the Galaxy. with five midfielders now the Galaxy we able to put more pressure on Vancouver. A David Beckham short corner in the 69' minute was then sent in by Juninho, and Mike Magee was able to get him leg on the volley to notch the match at one goal a piece.
The only other sub Bruce Arena use was to bring in Michael Stephens for an injured Juninho in the 83'. After the match Arena said that Juninho was just kicked and that the Galaxy expect to have him back. The Galaxy also expect to get Sean Franklin and Christian Wilhelmsson back for Sunday's match against San Jose, they were recovering from leg injuries.
There will be lineup changes between tonight and Sunday against San Jose. It's going to be an entirely different style of play, with San Jose going wide open. Hopefully this is the last match the Galaxy see with a team parking a submarine in front of goal.