Carson, CA – Mike Magee and Landon Donovan scored in a four- minute stretch of the second half as the Los Angeles Galaxy rallied to defeat Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 2-1, on Thursday in an MLS Western Conference knockout round match.
Darren Mattocks scored less than three minutes into the game at The Home Depot Center for the Whitecaps, but the defending MLS Cup champion Galaxy responded midway through the second half with goals from Magee and Donovan.
Magee scored off a volley in the 69th minute and Donovan added the game-winner from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute, sending L.A. into the semifinals for a showdown against the top-seeded San Jose Earthquakes.
L.A. will host the first game of the two-legged series Sunday, with the second match Wednesday at San Jose.
Vancouver could not have dreamed of a better start as Mattocks received a pass from Matt Watson in the middle of the area and slotted to the far post to beat L.A. goalkeeper Josh Saunders in the third minute.
With an unexpected lead, Vancouver bunkered down and kept L.A. from creating a lot of chances for the remainder of the first half. David Beckham had the best chance in first-half stoppage time, when his free kick was deflected away from the top-left corner by Whitecaps goalie Brad Knighton.
Vancouver continued to frustrate L.A. with its compact defense, and nearly put the game away on a counter attack midway through the second half. Saunders was able to deny Watson on the first shot of the play, a second attempt from Kenny Miller was deflected, and another shot from Watson was also deflected.
Just seconds later on the other end, the match turned in favor the Galaxy.
Beckham won a corner and played the attempt short to Juninho, who quickly sent a cross into the area for Magee, who volleyed into the top-left corner to even the match in the 69th minute.
Vancouver center back Jay DeMerit was injured just before the corner kick, and he came off the field after the first goal for Martin Bonjour, who gave away a penalty for a foul on Donovan in the 71st minute.
Donovan scored to the left side with Knighton going the other way for his 21st career playoff goal, adding to his own MLS postseason record.
Vancouver came out of its shell after falling behind, but could not respond to the deficit as the second-year franchise exits its first postseason appearance after just one match.