The Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-1, on Nov. 1 in the first round of the MLS Playoffs in a Western Conference match.
Whitecaps Try To Sit On Early LeadThe Galaxy remained unbeaten all-time against the Whitecaps, but it was not easy. The Whitecaps led for most of the match on Darren Mattocks' third minute goal. The Whitecaps were not interested in shooting the ball or having possession after the goal. And, for a long stretch, it appeared that the bus parking strategy of Vancouver was going to work.
Mike Magee Turns Match AroundMike Magee saved the day for the Galaxy once again with the game-tying goal in the 69th minute against the Whitecaps. The script seemed to be the same for the Galaxy as in the final regular season match against the Seattle Sounders: a second half Magee goal sparked L.A. to a victory in a match that did not appeared to be going in their favor. Galaxy captain Landon Donovan scored the game-winner from the spot in the 73rd minute after drawing a foul inside the penalty area.
Galaxy Momentum Too Much For WhitecapsAfter the Donovan goal, the momentum had swung so fundamentally that there was no way the Galaxy were going to lose. However, the Whitecaps had a very good showing despite making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Ultimately, the Canadian side tried to hold on to the lead too early and could not keep the Galaxy at bay. L.A. took 23 shots with seven reaching the target. Vancouver managed four shots on target and only nine shots in the game.
Earthquakes Are NextThe Galaxy's next challenge is to get by a team they have not beaten all season, the San Jose Earthquakes. Our side's California Clasico rivals had the best record in the league during the regular season. In the three exciting regular season matches against the Galaxy, the Earthquakes had two wins and a draw. The Galaxy will get two cracks at the Quakes, with the first match taking place on Nov. 4 at the Home Depot Center. Even if the Galaxy can't advance, fans should be in for two entertaining contests.
More from Patrick Johnston:LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders - Galaxy look to avoid season sweep
Stats from MLS Soccer.com