Whitecaps FC-Galaxy Preview

After a disastrous seven-game stretch, the Los Angeles Galaxy

find themselves with a little momentum.

They hope it leads to their first three-game winning streak of

the season Saturday night when they host the Vancouver Whitecaps,

who are riding a five-game unbeaten run.

While Los Angeles has won its last two, it still finds itself in

seventh place in the Western Conference. The Galaxy (5-8-2)

suffered through an 0-5-2 slide from April 28-May 26.

Los Angeles snapped that skid with a 1-0 win over Portland on

Sunday, then rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat

conference-leading Real Salt Lake 3-2 on Wednesday behind two goals

from Landon Donovan.

“We’re not going to get carried away over two wins now,” said

Donovan, the team leader with four goals. “We’ve had a really poor

start to the season so we’ve got a lot of ground to make up. … We

need to do our part to keep winning games and worry about

everything else later.”

Los Angeles could also get a boost from Robbie Keane, who may be

back in the lineup after playing for Ireland in the Euro 2012.

Keane, who missed the Galaxy’s last seven games, is second on the

team with three goals.

While defending Los Angeles’ star-heavy lineup will be a

challenge, the Whitecaps look forward to facing a Galaxy team that

could be at full strength.

“We’re playing against world-class players,” midfielder John

Thorrington said. “That’s a good test for us.”

The Whitecaps will open a five-game stretch of road games

looking to extend a 2-0-3 streak. Vancouver (7-3-5) has been

sparked in that stretch by Joe Cannon, who has allowed five goals

in the five matches.

He faced six shots in a 1-all draw with New York on Wednesday,

though he allowed the tying score in the 86th minute.

“It was one of those games where when you lose a late goal it

feels like a defeat,” coach Martin Rennie said. “It’s something

that we have to learn from.”

Rennie’s squad doesn’t have much time to lament missed

opportunities because of the quick turnaround. Vancouver’s first

three games on this road stretch are against conference rivals.

The Whitecaps have managed five goals in going 2-2-2 away from

home this year. Cannon has three shutouts on the road, but has also

allowed three or more goals in two road games.

Vancouver could get an offensive boost from the return of Darren

Mattocks from a one-game suspension. Mattocks is tied for second on

the team with three goals – all in his last three games.

The Whitecaps will be looking for better results against the

Galaxy than they had last season, as they lost 4-0 on July 30 and

3-0 on Sept. 17.

Cannon was in goal for both games, while Joe Saunders started

each for Los Angeles.

Saunders has been in net the last two contests after missing the

previous seven while taking part in the league’s substance abuse

and behavior health program. The Galaxy are 5-3-0 when he

starts.