Photo by Jose M. Romero
By JOSE M. ROMERO
TEMPE, Ariz. — Vancouver Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi stood in a covered area above the stands at Arizona State University's soccer stadium, wondering aloud what his team was doing.
Down on the field, the Whitecaps couldn't finish chances, and they couldn't overcome two key turnovers that led to quick goals for the Los Angeles Galaxy in Monday's 2-0 preseason win for L.A. on the ASU campus.
Both Galaxy goals were from open field, as midfielder Chris Birchall scored the first in the 26th minute, and Juan Pablo Angel cleaned up a rebound in front of the net in the 44th.
On Angel's goal, midfielder Paolo Cardozo played in a failed clearance to Juninho, who had a one-on-one with Vancouver goalkeeper Jay Nolly. The keeper blocked Juninho's shot but Angel was there to send in the deflection.
The Galaxy looked impressive, even without midfielder David Beckham, who is due back in Los Angeles later this week after training with English side Tottenham Hotspur for six weeks.
"The difference is they've got guys that score," Whitecaps midfielder John Thorrington said.
It's preseason, but from the looks of Monday, the Whitecaps have a ways to go before they can match up with the talent level of a team like the Galaxy, which started a top-notch lineup.
Donovan Ricketts was in goal; A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Gregg Berhalter and Frankie Hejduk were the backs (right to left); Jovan Kirovski, Cardozo, Juninho and Birchall were the midfielders, and Landon Donovan and Angel were forwards.
Donovan was among six players to play the entire 90 minutes.
The Whitecaps countered by starting Nolly with defenders Alain Rochat, Jay DeMerit, Michael Boxall and Jonathan Leathers; midfielders Nizar Khalfan,Terry Dunfield, Thorrington and Shea Salinas and forwards Davide Chiumiento and Camilo da Silva Sanvezzo, a trialist from Brazil.
"I think they have their core squad figured out, we're trying to figure out what we're trying to do," Salinas said. "We're trying to figure out our game plan. … They know what they need to work on, we're still trying to find out what we need to work on, and I think today showed."
Frustrating was the operative word for Salinas, whose team had chances, but couldn't convert.
Vancouver had an opportunity on a breakaway, as substitute forward Atiba Harris had space but couldn't get off a shot. He pushed the ball to Long Tan, who had an open net but missed it high.
"We had many chances in the first half," Salinas said. "We've got to work on that final killer instinct, getting the ball in the back of the net. They had two chances, two goals, we had about six chances, zero goals."
Los Angeles, meanwhile, was close to tacking on another goal late in the second half on a couple of occasions. Birchall hit the post with a shot in the 82nd minute, and a minute later, substitute Leonardo beat Nolly but hit the crossbar.
"The first half wasn't really what we wanted it to be, but it was 2-0," Hejduk said. "The second half was much better. We found the game a little bit more, we got into a rhythm and we were able to kill the game off and to counter-attack and get some chances."