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Galaxy converts Whitecaps’ mistakes into pair of goals in preseason victory


Photo 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."


  1. AJ was great at RB last season…He has plenty of speed for the role…Took several speedy players out of the match. Dont know which AJ you were looking at. Service wise he needs to improve…But this is one of the better defenders in the league

  2. I disagree with the author….

    Hejduk is a starter ?

    Plus I think the team gets worse when Beckham joins them.

    I doubt I am alone.

  3. The article contends that the Galaxy started a top notch lineup. That may be more credit to the depth of its bench than to any sense that this is the team’s normal starting lineup. The back-line is definitely not the clear starting lineup except for Gonzalez (Dunivant and Franklin at least would normally be out there) and there is no way Kirovski is a starter. This was a pre-season lineup. The most significant fact was that it was the first time Bruce used Landon up top with Angel.

  4. The Whitecaps have sabotaged themselves by refusing to acquire proven attacking talent.

    They seem naive in the way Ellinger was at RSL.

  5. Playing Franklin in the middle next to Gonzalez seems like a formidable option late in games if things are tight, with frankie on the right.

  6. lol thats great.

    Without a proven goal scorer they’ll struggle for goals all year.

    I hope their icelandic coach is just starting Jay Nolly out of respect. It’s not like their team has any real semblance to last years so you can’t say its a chemistry thing.

    Lol, also it didn’t take very long for the coach to figure out that Attiba Harris isn’t a forward.

  7. Juninho was actually played out of position last year, he was actually a holding mid back at São Paulo back in there reserves, however I do agree with you on many aspects, especially with Franklin playing RB.

  8. I want the Caps to do well, but fear they will be among the worst sides MLS has ever seen. The D as it stands should keep the scores respectable, but with a key injury or two… yikes.

    The front office seems to be doing everything right up there, except roster building.

  9. I saw plenty of AJ at RB last year, and he just doesn’t have the speed or provide the service that Franklin does. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not bad. Definitely serviceable, but I prefer Franklin at right back.

    As far Franklin playing right mid, I’m fine with it, but that would mean Beckham plays centrally, and I’m not sure how a central midfield of Juninho and Beckham would work. A small offensive minded player, and a aging, slow player who isn’t really known for his defense? I think we need Birchall playing defensive mid.

    Leonardo had a couple good games early on in the season when he filled in for injured players, but he was pretty bad at the end of the year when he filled in immediately after Berhalter got injured, until Bruce decided to play a central defense of Gonzalez and DeLaGarza.

    If Leonardo improves, then yeah maybe he could start, or be the 3rd CB and fill in when injuries happen. But if he’s at the level of where he was last year, I’d prefer a Gonzo-AJ pairing, if Berhalter get injured or can’t perform at a good level. I have a feeling Berhalter might be about done.

    As far as Hejduk, I’m not all too sure why we got him. I know it didn’t cost us too much, and maybe I’ll end up eating my words, but besides being a veteran presence, he just seems like a somewhat expensive extra body. Left back is all Todd Dunivant’s as far as I’m concerned. Frankie’s crosses are bad enough from the right, so I don’t really see him contributing on the left. And on the right, I’d put Franklin over him.

  10. Probably giving a shot to AJ to see how’s in RB and also give Leonardo a shot at CB to see how he plays with Hedjuk as he might see him in reserve league or the 2nd in depth charts!

    I hope Leonardo can earn a starting spot to partner up with Omar and Berhalter doesn’t have to be relied upon so much? And that gives us depth at RB, Sean can up to RM and pull Beckham centrally to create with Juninho or given a breather to either one of those to let Franklin RM minutes on the wing


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