In the midst of an extremely tight Western Conference playoff race, the Los Angeles Galaxy traveled to Vancouver on Saturday to play another team eager to improve its playoff positioning as well. Fortunately for LA, the Galaxy's championship experience and clutch play proved to be the edge, as it was able to squeeze out a 1-0 victory in this closely-contested battle.
The lone goal of the game was in the opening minutes, and was a brilliant score before the sold-out Whitecaps crowd.
In the 3rd minute, LA's Robbie Keane received the ball with two Vancouver defenders draped all over him, and for good reason, as the red-hot Keane had scored 5 goals in his last 2 competitive matches. The ball eventually got kicked away to the feet of Landon Donovan, who wasted no time and shot from 20 yards away with his left foot, finding the upper corner for a 1-0 lead.
Coach Bruce Arena again decided to play Jaime Penedo at goalkeeper -- a decision that has brought success over the past few weeks. On Saturday, Arena's move once more proved to be wise.
Penedo saved the game in the 82nd minute when Ketuta Manneh's shot hit the post following Penedo's dive for the ball. Penedo somehow recovered to make a full-stretched diving save of Jordan Harvey's sure goal following the rebound of Manneh's shot.
With the win, LA moved into second place in the West behind Real Salt Lake, and will play San Jose at home at the StubHub Center next weekend. Vancouver currently is in sixth place.
By Brian Kowalski
Staff Reporter for The Daily Sports Herald