The Los Angeles Galaxy's recent defensive deficiencies were masked in their last match by a stirring comeback.
Should they be exposed Saturday night at home against Vancouver, much of their playoff cushion could be gone along with a perfect record in their meetings with the Whitecaps in Los Angeles.
After Wednesday's 4-3 win in Colorado, the Galaxy (10-5-7) have allowed seven goals in two matches. Los Angeles fell behind 2-0 by the 17th minute, got within one on Robbie Keane's 20th-minute goal but conceded again before half. Omar Gonzalez (55th) and Alan Gordon (68th) scored to level the match at 3-all before Landon Donovan's winner in the 80th.
"There were some choice words that we absolutely deserved to hear," Donovan told the club's official website of coach Bruce Arena's halftime message. "After what happened Saturday (4-1 loss in Columbus), and what happened in the first half, giving up seven goals in two games is unacceptable for this team."
Keane said any sort of celebration is being withheld until they back up a strong second half with a result against the Whitecaps (7-4-12), who trail Los Angeles by four points for fourth place in the Western Conference.
"It's no good getting a good result (on Wednesday) and then just throwing away on Saturday against Vancouver," Keane said.
Los Angeles hasn't thrown much away in the last three months. Since May 21, it has secured a league-high 28 points from a possible 42 with a league-high 31 goals in the 14-game span.
While Donovan (five goals and six assists in 12 starts) and Keane (eight goals and eight assists in 13 starts) have been consistent parts of it, even more of that finishing has come from Gyasi Zardes, who has 10 goals in the 14-game stretch.
Vancouver hasn't had quite the excitement Los Angeles has had in recent weeks. It hasn't lost in six matches, but it's only earned three points in one of those.
It kept a third straight clean sheet Saturday at Chivas USA, but again wasted the defensive effort with its second scoreless draw in that span.
The club did just bring on a player who could help change that. The Whitecaps acquired midfielder Mauro Rosales from Chivas USA on Thursday for midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker.
Rosales, the 2011 MLS Newcomer of the Year, is second in MLS with 42 assists since breaking into the league. The 33-year-old Argentine had eight assists in 16 starts for Chivas.
"If you look at Mauro's history, he's constantly creating goals," Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson told the club's official website. "He's experienced, bright and has a super football brain. His delivery on crosses is fantastic, and I know he's a good guy. That's important in this locker room. We're very pleased to add a player of Mauro's caliber as we make our push for the playoffs."
The Galaxy are 6-0-0 with a 13-2 scoring advantage in home meetings against the Whitecaps. Their overall record in the series stands at 8-1-2 after a 2-all draw in Vancouver on April 19 and a 1-0 Galaxy win in Los Angeles on April 12.
Keane has scored in both games this season, while Darren Mattocks has scored in three of his last five against the Galaxy.