'Caps best Galaxy 3-1
By Jon Szekeres
Finally, Finally, The Vancouver Whitecaps can finally say they have beaten the LA Galaxy. It took nearly three years, countless thrashings and a playoff elimination to do it, but it's happened. The Whitecaps defeated the Galaxy in front of a racous, sell-out BC Place crowd, 3-1, getting two goals from Canadian Russell Tiebert, and another from Darren Mattocks. Teibert staked the Whitecaps to the two goal lead with back to back markers in the second half, before the Galaxy countered with a goal of their own. Darren Mattocks would re-instate the two goal lead in the dwindling minutes, squeaking a greasy goal past the Galaxy for his second goal of the season.
The win not only broke the 'Caps goose egg against the Galaxy, it also snapped a seven match winless streak, sending a shockwave of confidence in a group that put out one of their worst performances just a week ago against Real Salt Lake. How in bloody hell did they do it?
The Galaxy were missing some bodies
The Galaxy dominance over the Whitecaps couldn't be repeated because the group was missing key players. Robbie Keane, who had one of his best seasons last year, missed the contest with injury. Missing Keane, the Galaxy still had a slew of other stars on their roster, but not one as dominant as the great Keane. In addition, David Beckham is no longer with the club, and he has had some unbelievable matches against the Whitecaps. Who could forget his performance the last time he was at BC Place, sparking the Galaxy comeback with a key, beautiful goal? That one ended in a 2-2 draw. Or, later that season, the beautiful curling free kick that froze Brad Knighton? In any case, the attack for the Galaxy lost a few fangs, and that worked in the Whitecaps favour.
The Whitecaps have been inconsistent offensively ever since joining MLS. In their three years in the league, they've gone through names like Sebastien Le Toux, Eric Hassli, Camilo, and Darren Mattocks without finding a consistent scoring threat that could carry their club. Well, for one match anyways, someone finally stepped up. Russell Teibert was a revelation in the match, scoring twice and proving that he can play at this level. He looked good earlier in the season as well, and he arguably is the best Whitecap on set pieces. Now, we shouldn't get too excited about the young midfielder, and throw unwarranted heaps of expectation on his back; however, it's nice to see performances like that from young players. Teibert has looked better than Kekuta Manneh, Erik Hurtado and Mattocks, but he still needs to do it over a string of games. As a Canadian, I'm hoping to God he can do it.
A strong backline
Many spoke about the Whitecaps immense strength in midfield over the weekend. Obviously Teibert showed his stuff, but then there was Gershon Koffie, who managed the match well and was directly involved in two scoring plays. Nigel Reo-Coker ran mid like a general, and his strong first pass was integral to the Whitecaps attack. However, what about the backline, that has now run into two serious injuries? Brad Rusin was lost to a concussion, but may be out of a starting job, as Johnny Leveron stepped in and played very well. It was a subtle performance, not overpowering in any way, but a strong, solid job by a young player. If a new contract cannot be reached with Captain Jay Demerit, or when YP Lee retires, the 'Caps have a future all-star waiting to nab the spot.