Whitecaps in tough in MLS playoff debut tonight versus LA Galaxy
No one in soccer, it seems, is giving the Vancouver Whitecaps a chance to upset David Beckham’s Los Angeles Galaxy. But the beauty of playoff format in Major League Soccer is that the ‘Caps don’t have to beat the defending league champs four out of seven or even two out of three. Tonight is a one-game, winner-take-all showdown and the Whitecaps have to enter the match believing that a miracle could happen—that their best effort might be enough to stun the home side and the rest of the MLS.
All of that said, however, the ‘Caps are huge underdogs. Their play away from home all season has been a massive issue (just three wins with the last one coming on July 4 in Colorado). The Whitecaps were held scoreless in their final two regular season games and failed to produce offense in four of their final five outings. The team has managed just one goal in its last five road matches. You get the point—the ‘Caps don’t score much. Unfortunately for them, the Galaxy does. LA was the second-highest scoring team in MLS this season (LA scored 59 goals compared to Vancouver’s 35).
Los Angeles was led offensively by Robbie Keane whose 16 goals equals the total of the top-three Whitecap scorers combined. Supporting Keane was Landon Donovan who scored nine times while David Beckham and Brazilian midfielder Juninho each found the back of the net seven times.
Add it all up, and the ‘Caps have no choice but to play a tight, defensive game hoping to keep the Galaxy at bay. If LA opens the scoring, the Whitecaps will need two to win and two might simply be too tall an order for this team in its MLS playoff debut. The Whitecaps have to stick to their system—dull as it may be—and hope they somehow find a way to score against the run of the play.
It’s hard to like the Whitecaps chances on paper. Fortunately for them, the game’s played on grass. The game goes at 7:30 p.m. at Home Depot Center in Carson, California. It can be seen locally on TSN.