By Alex Baker
(Carson, CA) – The LA Galaxy continued their march up from the bottom of the Western Conference table by registering their third win inside of a week with a 3-0 route of the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night.
“It was a great win tonight for our team,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “We had an exceptional first half and we maybe could’ve gotten more goals. But I’m not being greedy at this point.”
“There was a lot of bodies around me so it was a matter of just quick feet,” said Keane. “I was lucky enough to get through and finish it so obviously I was delighted with that.”
The striker, who had just returned from an unsuccessful campaign with the Irish national team at Euro 2012, decided to forego his usual acrobatic celebration and instead held up a shirt with the name James Nolan on it. Nolan was a 21 year old Ireland fan who’d traveled to Poland to watch his team in the Euros and had gone missing before turning up drowned in a canal in northern Poland.
“The whole country is very, very said,” said Keane. “I called his father today to send my condolences and say my thoughts were with him and the family. Irish people are very, very close. They stick to each other through good times and bad times.”
The Galaxy’s third goal came in the 41st minute when they were awarded a penalty after Whitecaps defender Jay DeMerit, who was under pressure from Keane, handled the ball inside the area. Landon Donovan stepped up to the mark and having missed two earlier chances, duly converted to make it 3-0 Galaxy with less than five minutes remaining in the half.
For their part, Vancouver were outplayed from almost the opening whistle, failing to register a single shot on goal in the first half.
“I don’t think we gave them a sniff at the goal,” remarked Donovan. “And we probably should’ve had five goals in the first half.”
Vancouver’s best chances came in the second half, and were both courtesy of the Brazilian Camilo. The first one came in the 52nd when the pacy forward found space inside the area and got off a shot that went just wide of the far post. Then in the 70th minute Vancouver were awarded a free kick which the former Corinthians man put on target only to have his effort saved by Galaxy keeper Josh Saunders.
With their third win inside of a week, the Galaxy now find themselves in fifth place and back in playoff contention. They also appear to have been revitalized by the international break and look to have regained the form that made them MLS champions just over six months ago. However they will need to remain on point as they head north next Saturday to face the conference-leading San Jose Earthquakes.