Landon Donovan and Jaime Penedo lift Galaxy past Whitecaps
By Kim Tate
A lightening quick goal by Landon Donovan in the second minute put LA Galaxy up 1-0 over Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night. It was the only goal of the game between the two sides, who met for the third and final time in the regular season at BC Place in front of a sold out crowd of 21,000.
A turnover by Vancouver's Matt Watson was the catalyst to the play when Robbie Keane countered, and, trying to get the ball back, Johnny Leverón accidentally poked the ball away from him. The mistake ended up feeding Landon Donovan outside the area, and taking a touch to set himself, his left footed shot sailed into the top part of the far post to put the visitors up 1-0 in the second minute.
In goal replacing Carlo Cudicini was Panamanian Jaime Penedo, who made his third start in all competitions last night. He came out big for the Galaxy with five saves, including a "Superman-like" double save in the 82nd minute. Kekuta Manneh fired a shot at goal forcing Penedo to dive to his left and swat the ball away, but it was picked up by Vancouver's Jordan Harvey on the rebound. Seeing a second opportunity for Vancouver to score, Penedo quickly recovered and dove to his right to deny Harvey's effort, which would have gone in had the 'keeper's reflexes not been so on point.
Vancouver appealed for a number of handball calls against LA, but the referee was not in agreement and despite a few close chances by the hosts, they were unable to get past Penedo and the LA Galaxy defense.
The Galaxy now improve to 12-9-4 on the season and are back at home next weekend, as they host the San Jose Earthquakes at the StubHub Center on Saturday. The Whitecaps, dropping to 10-9-6, play host to Chivas USA next Sunday at BC Place.
Galaxy have not looked all that strong in recent games, but i have to admit that Penedo deserved to play over cudicini. He's a fresh young talent and with those types of saves will and should start for the Galaxy.