Carson, CA — The LA Galaxy failed to get past the Vancouver Whitecaps in their final tune-up of the offseason on Saturday at StubHub Center. The Galaxy got a penalty kick from Giovani dos Santos but allowed goals on either side of the half to close out the preseason with a 2-1 loss.
The Galaxy, starting without the injured Jonathan dos Santos in midfield, went with a mostly first-team lineup against the Whitecaps.
The teams, having met earlier in the week in a closed-door scrimmage (a 2-0 loss), played a high-energy first half that saw the Galaxy dominate possession but give up a penalty kick in the 19th minute thanks to a slow reaction by Pedro, who tripped Cristian Techera in the corner of the penalty area.
Whitecaps striker Kei Kamara converted the kick past goalkeeper David Bingham to take the early 1-0 lead.
The Galaxy otherwise stymied the Whitecaps and didn’t allow much of anything until a retreating Romain Alessandrini toe-poked an intercepted ball into the path of a Whitecaps attacker. The goal, scored by Vancouver’s Alphonso Davies in the 52nd minute, beat Bingham from no farther than 10 yards and the visitors led 2-0.
Feltscher, by the way, played his second game with a misspelled last name – “Fletscher” instead of “Feltscher.” For his part, he said everyone should use “more Rolf and less Feltscher.”
It clearly wasn’t his the first time having difficulties with his surname.
Galaxy striker Ola Kamara felt the Galaxy got short-changed, particularly on defense.
“In the first half, they created nothing,” Kamara told reporters after the game. “And in the second half, they created one goal chance.
“So I mean the two chances are actually good. They just can’t end in goals.”
Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid also was feeling better about his team’s defensive effort.
“I can’t be displeased with how we played,” he said. “I thought defensively we were much better today. I didn’t think we gave up a ton. In fact, we had the assist on their goal, their second goal.”
The offense also had its share of chances. And while they weren’t taken with the same finishing acumen as that of the visitors, they still were dangerous.
“I think we’re creating a lot of chances,” Kamara said. “We created a lot against San Jose. We created a lot today, too. I think me being more clinical was maybe something that tipped it the other way. Because I didn’t score on maybe two or three of the chances.
“If I did score, maybe we win this game.”
The Galaxy’s lone goal, a penalty kick from Giovani dos Santos after an Alessandrini full-volley was judged to have been handled by the Whitecaps’ Marcel de Jong on the goal line, was the result of a nice buildup.
It also was Giovani dos Santos’ first goal of the preseason.
He and Kamara combined on a number of scoring opportunities that could have resulted in goals, but instead found players making extra passes when shots would’ve done.
“I think a couple of times we overpassed in the 18-yard box when we had chances to shoot,” Schmid said. “Sometimes we got a little too cute, as Kamara did on the one where he tried to chip it (over Vancouver goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic). When he’s shown he can hit the ball hard and put them past goalkeepers.”
The Galaxy outshot the Whitecaps 14-5.
Where there were chances, goals surely are coming in the future. Kamara feels that confidence is building, but the final result just wasn’t there Saturday.
“If I wasn’t getting any chances, then I would be stressed,” Kamara admitted. “But we’re getting that chemistry now, and I’m creating a lot of chances and that’s always good for a striker.”
The Galaxy will open the 2018 season by hosting the Portland Timbers at StubHub Center on Sunday, March 4.
Midfielder Jonathan dos Santos, held out of Saturday’s game with an unspecified injury, is expected to be available. Schmid, speaking to reporters after the game, was quick to point out dos Santos’ exclusion from the game-day roster was merely “precautionary,” but he wouldn’t give details on the exact injury.
But he jokingly did allow reporters to guess, and they eliminated the groin and the lower back.
Kamara will be traveling to Norway on Sunday to complete an appointment for a Green Card. He’s expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday. This would allow the Galaxy to be roster compliant heading into the start of the season.