July 21, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Vancouver Whitecaps FC
LOS ANGELES, CA - Whitecaps FC (9W-6L-5D) fell to their first defeat in seven matches as they lost to LA Galaxy (10W-8L-3D) to a score of 2-1 at the StubHub Center on Saturday.
Camilo opened scoring with his 13th MLS goal of the season, maintaining his position as the league's leading scorer. But the Galaxy fought back and after a controversial equalizer from Jose Villarreal, rookie Gyasi Zardes scored the winner to deny Whitecaps FC points for the first time since June 8.
There was one change to the starting lineup as Russell Teibert returned to the starting XI for the first time since a 1-0 win against D.C. United on June 29, after representing represented Canada at the Gold Cup. Corey Hertzog dropped to the bench to accommodate Teibert's return while Young-Pyo Lee took part in his first away match since Whitecaps FC took on Seattle on June 8.
Whitecaps FC suffered an early scare as Marcelo Sarvas controlled a cross from the right flank in the second minute and put in a shot at the near post from close range. Goalkeeper Brad Knighton looked every bit the man in form as he got down well to deny the early chance.
Three minutes later, Villarreal got down the left wing and swung in a deep cross. Hector Jimenez powered a header past Knighton but Brad Rusin read the situation perfectly and produced a brilliant clearance on the line as Vancouver rode their luck in the early stages.
Whitecaps FC lost the ball in midfield in the ninth minute with Jimenez taking the opportunity to drive forward, advancing towards the area. The midfielder set his sights and struck a powerful effort that cannoned back off the crossbar. The ball fell to Zardes but the young striker couldn't get a shot on target from two attempts.
Another opportunity came the way of the rookie striker on 13 minutes as Todd Dunivant played it in to Zardes wide on the left. The rookie forward lined up an effort from a tight angle but Knighton got behind the shot to keep the ball out.
Despite the early pressure, Whitecaps FC notched the first goal on 19 minutes as Lee pumped the ball forward towards Teibert. The young Canadian flicked the ball on to Camilo who stayed just onside, advanced on goal and kept his composure to finish under the advancing Carlo Cudicini.
LA Galaxy got an equalizer in controversial circumstances on 29 minutes when they won a free kick in Vancouver's half. The ball was played into the box and Omar Gonzalez headed back across goal. Villerreal bundled the ball home from close range, but initially the linesman and the referee disallowed the goal calling an offside. Moments later, the decision was reversed and the goal was awarded.
The teams went in at the break level at 1-1 but, after a quiet opening to the second half, LA Galaxy took the lead in the 57 minute. Zardes ran onto a long ball over the 'Caps defence and stopped the ball near the byline. The striker cut back past Rusin and buried a low effort past Knighton at the near post.
The Galaxy almost got a third in the 61st minute as they continued to press Vancouver. Villarreal collected the ball well outside the area and struck an ambitious shot that only just cleared Knighton's bar. With time running out for Whitecaps FC, substitute Kekuta Manneh stole the ball off Juninho in midfield and slid a perfect through ball beyond the Galaxy defence to Kenny Miller. The striker struck a low shot but Cudicini was able to keep the shot out.
In the second minute of added time, Whitecaps FC got a last chance to sneak a leveler when Camilo was fouled just outside the box. The Brazilian lined up the set piece and struck a powerful effort but the strike deflected off the wall and wide as LA Galaxy saw the match out.
Despite the result, a strong performance at the centre of defence including a last-ditch clearance in the first half earned Brad Rusin the Budweiser Man of the Match award.
After the trip to California, Whitecaps FC now return home to host former striker Sebastien Le Toux and Philadelphia Union at BC Place on Saturday, July 27 in the only meeting this season between the two sides. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT. Tickets are available at whitecapsfc.com/tickets.