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Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Galaxy fight back to earn draw

Associated Press

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- David Beckham and substitute Jose Villarreal scored second-half goals and the Los Angeles Galaxy salvaged a 2-2 tie with the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday night.

Gershon Koffie and Barry Robson scored first-half goals for the Whitecaps.

The defending-champion Galaxy (8-10-3) remain four points behind the Whitecaps (8-6-7) in the race for the fifth place in the Western Conference.

Vancouver had lost its three previous meetings with Los Angeles by a combined 10-0 score.

Beckham started the play that set up L.A.'s tying goal in the 87th minute when he lobbed a lead ball to Juninho, who then tapped the ball on to Villarreal. The 18-year-old made no mistake, quickly putting in a high shot.

Beckham played the role of spoiler after the sellout crowd of 21,000 greeted him with boos, mixed with a few cheers, the first time he touched the ball.

Koffie opened the scoring in the 17th minute following a turnover by Beckham. Vancouver's Brazilian striker Camilo blocked the Englishman's clearing attempt and the ball fell to Koffie. Camilo was knocked down as he ran into a defender, but play continued and Koffie put home a low left-footed shot off L.A. goalkeeper Josh Saunders' hand.

The goal came moments after Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon caught Beckham's dangerous curling cross into the 18-yard box.

Robson gave the Whitecaps a 2-0 lead in the 27th minute as he headed in Young-Pyo Lee's left-footed cross from the right flank, one of the few times in the Whitecaps' season-and-a-half MLS existence that they have scored on a header off a set play.

Robson, a designated player, made his home debut after starting his Vancouver tenure with four on the road. The Whitecaps said the goal was the 100th of the Scottish international's career.

The sequence started when Lee threw the ball in to Dane Richards, who was also making his home debut, after being acquired in a trade from New York for Sebastien Le Toux on Friday. Four minutes after the goal, L.A. coach Bruce Arena replaced defender Todd Dunivant with Bryan Gaul.

The Whitecaps prevented the Galaxy from getting near their net for most of the rest of the first half. L.A. captain Landon Donovan showed his frustration in injury time as he booted the ball away in frustration after being called for fouling Lee.

Donovan received a yellow card.

The Whitecaps were credited with six attempts on goal, compared to three by L.A. in the first 45 minutes.

The Galaxy pressed more in the second half, but still struggled to create chances in the early going. Cannon knocked away another bending Beckham cross, this time from the left flank, in the 55th minute. Three minutes later, Robbie Keane couldn't find the net as he tried to put home a near-impossible shot while parallel with the goal line.

In the 70th minute, L.A. came close to scoring off a Beckham cross, but Donovan's header hit the crossbar and Koffie headed the ball away. Cannon denied Beckham nine minutes later as he caught the former Manchester United star's curling free kick.

However, a minute after Koffie hit the crossbar, Beckham put the Galaxy on the scoreboard when he fired in a rebound from the top edge of the 18-yard box.

Notes

Vancouver defenders Alain Rochat and DeMerit will be featured in the upcoming edition of the EA Sports FIFA 13 video game. They will have their movements captured digitally at EA Sports headquarters in Burnaby, British Columbia, on Thursday. ... Vancouver played without injured strikers Eric Hassli (ankle), Omar Salgado (foot), and Atiba Harris (knee), and midfielder John Thorrington (quadriceps).