Vancouver hopes to end Galaxy surge
Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - Since MLS took a short international break in early June, the Los Angeles Galaxy have been a new team. Or better yet, an old team.
The 2011 MLS Cup champions started the season 3-8-2, but since the short break from May 26 to June 17, the Galaxy have started to resemble last season's team - and the rest of the year looks promising.
With five wins in their last seven matches, and 2011 MLS Defender of the Year Omar Gonzalez set to return from an ACL injury, the Galaxy travel to Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday with a playoff spot in their grasp.
And now just 14 points off the top and the impressive San Jose Earthquakes, it would not be a surprise to see coach Bruce Arena guide his club back to, or at least near, the top of the Western Conference.
Los Angeles (8-10-2) is in fifth place in the West - the top five will advance to the postseason - and produced a memorable victory at Portland on Saturday.
David Beckham scored twice and had an assist, Robbie Keane also had two goals and an assist, and Landon Donovan had a goal and an assist in a 5-3 win.
"I'm more happy with the team's performance ... because I think we showed our character," Beckham said.
Arena will still have to iron out a few kinks over the remainder of the year, but a win at BC Place against Vancouver - which has lost its previous three matches against L.A. - and the Galaxy will be within a point of fourth.
Vancouver (8-6-6) has slowed recently as it lost both games over the last week against Toronto FC, 3-2, and the Chicago Fire, 1-0.
The Whitecaps are just 1-3-1 in their last five matches, but all of those were on the road. The comfort of BC Place will be a nice change, as the squad last played there on June 20.
With a 5-1-3 record at home, Vancouver can erase any concerns about its recent skid with a win over Los Angeles.
Coach Martin Rennie does have concerns, though, as Alain Rochat is suspended for card accumulation, Eric Hassli is out with an ankle injury, and recently- signed Scotland international striker Kenny Miller is unlikely to debut.
Regardless, Vancouver - fueled by exciting rookie Darren Mattocks - has shown it can compete with anybody in its second season, and will try to slow L.A. on Bell Pitch.