Los Angeles Soccer: Jordan Harvey
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Galaxy had all of the ball but none of the chances for the first 30 minutes Saturday, but as their most pivotal player's involvement in the proceedings increased, so did their dominance.
Landon Donovan scored two goals, set up another and provided the tactical shift that sent L.A. to a 4-0 rout of the Vancouver Whitecaps, a triumph fueled by a terrific final hour -- perhaps the Galaxy's best sustained soccer of the season.
It turned a vibrant match featuring end-to-end action, both ways for a time, into a most one-sided affair as L.A. (12-2-9) began a two-game Pacific Northwest trek by matching their best output of the season with their most emphatic triumph.
All four goals came in the second half, with Donovan -- returning to the field after missing last weekend's friendly against Manchester City and Wednesday's Major League Soccer All-Star Game because of a calf strain -- scoring superbly from Sean Franklin's long ball in the 61st minute and converting a penalty kick in the 75th, then setting up Franklin for No. 3 in the 80th. Adam Cristman's fortuitous header in the 90th completed the romp.
It was closer than the score suggests, and better aim might have given the Whitecaps (2-11-9) an upset, but the Galaxy took charge about a half-hour in, created myriad chances and was certain of victory once Donovan netted his first.
“First half, I thought Landon was quiet,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “Second half, he was real loud.”
The goals were his 10th and 11th of the season, pulling him even with New York's Thierry Henry for the top spot among Major League Soccer's scorers, but more important was the impact he had ripping apart a Whitecaps backline that had done well to limit the Galaxy's chances despite a serious advantage in possession.
L.A. had almost all of the ball through 30 minutes but never seriously tested goalkeeper Joe Cannon. Vancouver created eight solid opportunities in that span -- and several more to start the second half, the best Shea Salinas' deposit off the left post after a weaving run to the top of the Galaxy box after a giveaway.
Juninho twice forced diving saves from Cannon, who did well to keep out shots by Juan Pablo Angel and Mike Magee, too.
“I thought it looked like we were a little tired in the beginning,” defender Gregg Berhalter said. “Then we settled in, got our second wind. When we control the game and we look for a quick switch of the attack, we're really dangerous.”
Angel, who struggled to connect with teammates in the first half but was involved after halftime, until exiting in the 67th minute, said Empire Field's artificial turf slowed down L.A. at the start.
“I think it's normal.” he said. “It takes a little bit of time to get used to the field, the surface, but then we managed to be accurate with the passing, and when we got the movement right, we were very dangerous. ... And when Landon scored the first goal, it was just game over.”
Arena said the Galaxy's “ball movement was the key to the game. We passed better and we got out of pressure better. In the first 30 minutes, we were turned over in the middle third of the field, and they were dangerous on the counter. But as our passing got better, we got into a rhythm.”
A quick look at the Galaxy's victory:
BEST PLAYER: Donovan was magnificent in the second half, especially after moving into the middle about 10 minutes or so into the second half because, Arena said, “I thought we needed a little bit more pace up top to get behind.”
He scored one superb goal, converted a penalty kick and set up Franklin's second goal in as many games (and in a 3½-year MLS career) with a perfect ball across the goalmouth to the far post.
Jordan Harvey, a Philadelphia Union original who has missed just one league game in the club's brief history, is headed to the Pacific Northwest. The left back from Mission Viejo and UCLA was traded Thursday to the Vancouver Whitecaps for allocation money as Union boss Peter Nowak prepares for next week's opening of the summer transfer window.
"Jordan Harvey is an MLS-experienced [defender] with strong tackling ability, quickness, and a capacity to push forward into the attack," Whitecaps head coach Tom Soehn said in a statement. "We look forward to having him join our backline."
Vancouver employs one of the league's best left backs in Alain Rochat. No word on what Harvey's role will be.
Harvey (Capistrano Valley High School), 27, selected by the Union from Colorado in the expansion draft that followed the 2009 season, has started 16 of 17 games for the Eastern Conference leaders this year after starting 29 and playing in all 30 games for last year's expansion side. He spent four seasons with the Rapids, playing a significant role with its championship reserve team before appearing in 45 MLS games in 2008-09.
Harvey played in World Cups for the U.S. under-17 and under-20 national teams and starred for four seasons at UCLA. He was a freshman when the Bruins in 2002 won their fourth NCAA title.
UPDATE (7:07 p.m.): Harvey appeared on TEAM 1410 Radio in Vancouver after the trade. Here's some of what he had to say:
On the trade: "At the end of the day, Philly got an offer they couldn’t refuse, from what I’m understanding. To know that Vancouver wants me that bad is awesome. That’s how I’m looking at it, so I’m looking at it as a fresh start and a new opportunity."
On going to Vancouver: "You look at the bright side of things. I’ve been online looking at everything all day, and I’m excited. Vancouver is a beautiful city and a great organization. ... I’m actually closer to home, so my family is pretty excited about this."