LA Galaxy tear Vancouver Whitecaps to ribbons

August 1, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2011 | 2 Comments

Before this afternoon’s match against The Los Angeles Galaxy, we fans of the Vancouver Whitecaps could console ourselves with the fact we had not been badly beaten so far this season.  Most of the matches we have lost have been by one goal, two goals at the most. Today was our first out-and-out ass kicking at the hands of the opposition: we lost 0-4 at home to a clearly superior team in front of 27,000 dejected fans.

Starting eleven

It was a wake-up call to the entire Vancouver Whitecaps organization, which has stated as its ambition to be one of the world’s top football clubs. Today they played the best team in Major League Soccer and came away badly humbled.  The LA Galaxy are the finest team in the MLS, and have the league’s best player bar none: Landon Donovan.  Long roasted by critics as “Landy Cakes”, a player not good enough to play at the top level in Europe, Donovan’s performance today demonstrated his high value as a footballer.  He was doubtful to start because of a calf injury, yet Galaxy coach Bruce Arena had him play wide on the left to be used almost exclusively for counter attacks.  The Galaxy played a waiting game; they let the Whitecaps tire themselves out attacking, soaked up the pressure, and then stung the Whitecaps for four goals starting in the 61st minute.

Donovan scored two goals and created a third.  One of Donovan’s runs confused Whitecaps defender Boxall to the point where Boxall lost his footing; Donovan was through alone and it was 0-1 after the Whitecaps had just hit the Galaxy woodwork.  Boxall was twice undressed by Donovan in one on one situations, both resulting in goals.

The LA Galaxy: Better players, better coach...

For the first 20 minutes or so, it was looking good for the ‘Caps.  In fact, until Landon Donovan scored his first goal in the 61st minute, the Whitecaps had chances to score, and Shea Salinas had just hit the goal post. The Whitecaps put out an attacking team With Jarju and Hassli up front, Chiumiento behind them, and Camilo and Salinas on the outside midfield with Koffie playing as the only really defensive player in midfield.  The Whitecaps hoped to expose the weakness in an injury riddled side which was also missing a suspended David Beckham.  The Whitecaps had LA on the ropes a number of times in the first 20 minutes, but LA soon learned how to cope with the Whitecaps attack, and soaked up the Whitecaps pressure quite easily with the exception of Shea Salinas’ goal post strike and Camilo’s free kick in the second half which Galaxy keeper Josh Saunders, (familiar foe from division 2 USL days), palmed away.

Donovan: no monkey, just the MLS' finest player

The Whitecaps were not only out-played but out-coached.  Whitecaps gave up three goals after right back Jonathan Leathers was taken off and midfielder Peter Vagenas was subbed on in his place in the 73rd minute.  It only took two minutes after Leathers came off for the Whitecaps to fall apart.  Leather’s substitution left Boxall alone with Donovan with disastrous results. This was yet another tactical failure on coach Soehn’s part in the use of his pet player Vagenas.  The team was behind a goal but still in it when Vagenas was brought on.  Why Soehn felt the need to take this crazy gamble, which directly led to the Galaxy’s third goal, is beyond me. It was all downhill from there and the Whitecaps became a toy for LA to play with.  While only Jordan Harvey could be blamed for the Galaxy’s second goal, Vagenas did not help matters and was never going to in a match like this.

Referee Toledo played yet another starring role when he awarded a needless penalty for the Galaxy when Whitecaps left back Harvey clumsily handled the ball in the box.  There wasn’t a Galaxy player anywhere near him competing for the ball, and it looked like he was trying to hit the ball with his shoulder, but it hit his arm.  Most refs would let it go but not Toledo. A cheap penalty brought the match towards its conclusion.  It was Jordan Harvey’s first bad mistake as a Whitecap, and it effectively handed the match to the Galaxy on a silver platter.  The Whitecaps were never going to recover from this blow. Donovan cooly slotted the ball home for his second of the match and it was all over bar the next two Galaxy goals…

It was our first opportunity to see Mustapha Jarju in a real match at home.  He played poorly and is not yet fit.  Jarju is carrying extra weight and his speed is not there.  He ballooned a few good chances over the net early in the match.  This guy needs some work, which is surprising given he is a designated player.  I wonder if the head office are scratching their heads wondering if they have made a mistake.  While we should give Jarju some time to settle, he has not come out of the blocks with any speed; time for the fitness coach to work him hard.

It was a cruel match for Whitecaps keeper Joe Cannon, who played brilliantly to keep the match scoreless at the half.   Cannon made several fantastic saves and was distributing the ball well with throw-outs which led to dangerous counter attacks for the Whitecaps.  He looked poor on the fourth goal however, a looping header from six yards out, but by then the match was effectively over.

Designated player? Shouldn't he be fit?

The fact we were so soundly beaten by an under strength team shows how far we have to go as a club.  Our coach and our players are not good enough.  Tommy Soehn’s record is basically the same as that of Teitur Thordarson.  Soehn is clearly not the long term solution for the Whitecaps.

A very good coach by the name of Bob Bradley has recently become available.  Bradly coached the American team in the World Cup recently and knows MLS well.  He is an excellent coach.  If we could bring him and his son, who is a fine midfielder, to Vancouver we would be on the right track for success.

Time for Paul Barber and Bob Lenarduzzi to get on the phone and make some inquiries.



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  1. Soehn is a terrible coach and GM. Offer Bradley a coaching/GM role and fire soehn. His wife ranted on Facebook that Vancouver fans are not real soccer fans…time for Tommy and vagenas to leave town

    • actually vagenas has improoved a lot since coming here. I’m okay with him staying on as long as its as a depth player

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