CARSON, CA – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8W-12L-7D) rolled up their sleeves and scrapped their way to a scoreless draw with LA Galaxy (9W-4L-13D) on Saturday night at the StubHub Center.
This was just the second time Whitecaps FC have picked up a result on the road against LA in 10 visits. It wasn’t quite the historic streak-buster we saw last year, but it was certainly a performance to build off against a Galaxy side that have yet to lose at home this season.
And the ‘Caps, who hit a crossbar and had the better opportunities on the night, will look to do just that as they prepare for the final seven matches of the season. They end the night just one point out of a playoff spot, prior to Portland and Seattle playing on Sunday.
Six of Vancouver’s starters from Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Sporting KC kept their spot for this one.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson also went with a 4-4-2 formation once again, this time featuring a strike partnership of Giles Barnes and Erik Hurtado and four Canadians internationals – a new club high in MLS regular season play.
And all four of them acquitted themselves quite well.
David Edgar and Marcel de Jong, who had a game-high eight tackles and seven interceptions, were both solid at the back, midfielder Russell Teibert put in another shift defensively and sprayed some nice long balls over the top, while Fraser Aird provided a spark on the wing.
Barnes and Hurtado, who was voted as the Budweiser Man of the Match for a workmanlike performance up top, also looked very dangerous for the ‘Caps.
And in the eighth minute, they came within inches – literally – of opening the scoring.
First, Jordan Smith played a nice ball down the line to Barnes, who whipped in a cross to an unmarked Hurtado at the back post. The 25-year-old, who actually had three decent chances in the first half, headed it down only to see it bounce off the underside of the bar.
It was the best chance of either side in the opening frame.
LA controlled 70 per cent of possession and threatened a bit at times, but the visiting ‘Caps defended well and actually looked the more likely side to score. They also played with some real grit and intensity once again, which may have been most pleasing to Robinson and supporters.
The Galaxy, who were forced to sub off Steven Gerrard and Jelle Van Damme in the first half due to injury, looked better after the break. Robinson’s side still created some chances on the counter, thanks in part to a lively Aird on the wing, but they also spent a lot of time in their own end.
LA’s best opportunity came in the 72nd minute, when Alan Gordon – who started in place of Robbie Keane (international duty) – fired a low strike just wide from the top of the box.
It was an entertaining affair, but neither side could find a breakthrough.
The ‘Caps now return to BC Place next Saturday to host New York Red Bulls (4 p.m. PT on TSN1
Budweiser Man of the Match: Erik Hurtado
Referee: Alan Kelly
Possession: LA 69.1% – Vancouver 30.9%
Shots: LA 10 – Vancouver 11
Shots on Goal: LA 3 – Vancouver 3
Saves: LA 3 – Vancouver 3
Fouls: LA 6 – Vancouver 15
Offsides: LA 2 – Vancouver 4
Corners: LA 8 – Vancouver 5
27′ – VAN – Fraser Aird
53′ – LA – Robbie Rogers
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 6.Jordan Smith, 4.Kendall Waston, 18.David Edgar, 33.Marcel de Jong; 8.Fraser Aird (13.Cristian Techera 66′), 15.Matías Laba, 31.Russell Teibert, 77.Pedro Morales © (17.Andrew Jacobson 90’+2); 19.Erik Hurtado, 28.Giles Barnes (11.Nicolás Mezquida 80′)
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 9.Masato Kudo, 26.Tim Parker, 27.Blas Pérez
12.Brian Rowe; 14.Robbie Rogers, 22.Leonardo, 37.Jelle Van Damme (44.Daniel Steres 44′), 3.Ashley Cole; 34.Nigel de Jong, 8.Steven Gerrard © (11.Gyasi Zardes 31′ 18.Mike Magee 87′); 17.Sebastian Lletget, 10.Giovani dos Santos, 24.Emmanuel Boateng; 9.Alan Gordon
Substitutes not used
1.Dan Kennedy, 6.Baggio Husidic, 20.AJ DeLaGarza, 21.Jeff Larentowicz