CARSON, Calif. - The Vancouver Whitecaps' struggles continued Saturday night, thanks to two exquisite goals by the Los Angeles Galaxy — and the 'Caps' inability to create scoring chances.
Juninho scored a superb long-range goal just before halftime and David Beckham added one of his trademark free kicks late to send the Galaxy to a 2-0 victory at Home Depot Center.
Vancouver (10-11-7) managed just two shots — a glancing Kenny Miller header that sailed wide moments before Juninho's strike and a Barry Robson shot that went wide late in second-half stoppage — while dropping their fourth successive game to match the longest losing streak in the club's brief Major League Soccer history.
“Very frustrating scoreline and result ...,” said Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie, who was without suspended striker Darren Mattocks, Vancouver's top scorer, and injured centre back Andy O'Brien.
“Two great goals against us tonight — that's very disappointing, but a lot of good performances and a lot of things to build on as we go into the next phase of the season.
“But we've got to make sure we build on the things which are positive, fix a few things that obviously have to get better. We must be creating more chances in the game.”
The Whitecaps remain fifth in the Western Conference, five points above FC Dallas — their next opponent, Sept. 15 in Frisco, Texas — in the battle for the final playoff berth. Dallas is home Sunday against Seattle.
“It's a huge game,” Rennie said. “And then, of course, we go through a run of games where almost every game (four of the last five) is at home, so that's a positive thing. ... We must find our form, and now's the time to find it, because if we're going to do anything in the season, you're going to have to be at your best at the end. So we must find a way to get to form very quickly.”
The Galaxy (13-11-4), which climbed into third place, ahead of Seattle on the goals-scored tiebreaker, created plenty through Juninho, Beckham, Robbie Keane and Marcelo Sarvas and were unfortunate to score only twice.
Juninho's goal was a 28-yard blast to the upper-right corner after Keane redirected to him Hector Jimenez's low cross from the right flank. Juninho had the time to take a touch and look up, then netted his sixth goal in his last five games, all competitions.
“Juni's was incredible,” Beckham said. “When he's got his shooting boots on, there's not too many goalkeepers that can stop him. We needed that because I thought we had a lot of the possession and we were creating chances but not putting them in. Juni steps up and puts one in.”
The Galaxy might have two before that, but referee Baldomero Toledo let a Martin Bonjour handball slide in the 27th minute and Keane's goal five minutes later was flagged offside, although replays indicated it should have counted.
Whitecaps goalkeeper Brad Knighton knocked away a solid Keane shot in the first minute of the second half, and Jimenez's attempt moments later was cleared off the line by Jun Davidson, one of several Vancouver players who fared well.
Beckham's goal, his sixth in his last eight games, was a 25-yard free kick to the upper-left corner.
“I knew if I put it in the corner, the 'keeper wasn't getting there, simple as that,” he said.