Sports Soccer

Whitecaps take confidence from early season draw with Galaxy

By Hosea Cheung, 24 hours Vancouver

As unflattering as many of them may have been, the Vancouver Whitecaps can still benefit from looking back on their past performances against the Los Angeles Galaxy — in particular, the July 18 match at BC Place.

At home in front of their supporters, the ’Caps led 2-0 over the star-studded Galaxy at one point before giving up two late goals to walk away with a draw. But while Thursday’s one-game knockout playoff match will be on the road in L.A., Vancouver can still take something away from that lone result from more than three months ago.

“We know on a confidence level, we can compete against these guys,” defender Jay DeMerit said. “As the L.A. game went on at home, we let the game get too spread out, so hopefully we learned that against a team like L.A. You can’t allow them to have space and time to go and create because they have dynamic players that can go and do just that.

“We need to use the lessons we’ve learned from these couple games that we’ve had against them this season. We can take both positive and negative lessons from both.”

Negatives — there are many. The Whitecaps have not beaten the Galaxy yet in MLS, including three losses at the Home Depot Center over the last two seasons by a combined score of 8-0. While that looming statistic has not gone unnoticed by Vancouver, it also doesn’t mean they already feel defeated based on their past history in Carson, Calif.

“It’s not necessarily just us that have not done great against them at Home Depot,” coach Martin Rennie said. “That just adds to the fact that we’re huge underdogs and we have to perform our best game of the year in this game to have a chance.”

Looking ahead already

Those who run the Galaxy team website have clearly looked past the Whitecaps already. The team posted the home date and time for a potential second-round match on Sunday against the San Jose Earthquakes — the top team in the West and the next opponent for either L.A. or Vancouver.

“If they take us for granted, that’s good for us,” DeMerit said. “We can’t expect them to do that but we can be ready for it if they do do that and be ready to turn the tables on them. They’re the favourites and we’re going to have to go and knock them off their pedestal.”

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