Photo by Robert Mora/LA Galaxy
BY ADAM SERRANO
CARSON, Calif. — The Los Angeles Galaxy earned their third win in seven days on Saturday with a 3-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Galaxy jumped on Vancouver early tallying three first half goals from Mike Magee, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan to cap off a nine point week. But Los Angeles' victory was highlighted by Keane's emotional tribute.
After scoring in the 30th minute, Keane ran to the Galaxy bench where he was handed a shirt that read "RIP James Nolan" paying tribute to a 21-year-old Irish fan, who died of an apparent accidentally drowning while in Poland to support the Irish national team. For the Irish captain, who spoke to Nolan's father on Saturday, it was an important show of respect.
"It was just a gesture because the Irish people are very close and they stick with each other through good times and bad times," said Keane. "He was a big, big soccer fan and it was a shame, so it was just a show of respect really."
Pressuring from the outset, the Galaxy began the scoring in the 14th minute when Magee capitalized on a scramble in the box and easily slotted a shot from close range past Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon. It took less than 15 minutes for the Galaxy to get their second when a Donovan pass found Keane at the top of the box. With the ball at his feet, Keane cut through the Whitecaps defense to score his fourth goal of the season.
The Galaxy rounded out the scoring in the 41st minute when Donovan converted a penalty kick that was set up by a Jay DeMerit handball following a Keane shot in the box.
"I think we’re confident right now. We’re playing well and the guys are responding to what we’re doing. Every guy is making plays not only for himself but for the next guy," said Donovan. "When you have a team with the talent we have, if you get that stuff right, there’s going to be some good nights like this."
Although the Whitecaps conceded three goals in the first half, the second half was by far a more even affair with Vancouver even creating several dangerous scoring chances. While the result was less than favorable, head coach Martin Rennie felt it was one that his squad could build upon.
"This is a good measuring stick for us to see weve come quite far from where the team was but its certianly not where it needs to be yet, and we know that," said Rennie. "We need to make sure we keep building on it."
Following a devastating loss, Rennie and the Whitecaps will a week to regroup as they do not return to action until July 7th when they return to the HDC to face Chivas USA.
Meanwhile for Los Angeles, although the club's display over the past week was a cause for optimism, the road does not get any easy for the Galaxy, who face the league-leading San Jose Earthquakes next week at Stanford Stadium. Fully aware of the challenges ahead, Donovan's message to his teammates is clear: the job is far from done.
"Unfortunately we’re up against it. We’re not in a position to relax and chill out now," said Donovan. "We’ve got to keep going and a few days off now to rest and then a big game against a really hot team."