Whitecaps survive Laba’s red card, play Galaxy to 0-0
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Matias Laba was shown a straight red card in the first half, but the Vancouver Whitecaps still held on for a 0-0 tie with the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday night.
The midfielder was sent off in the 28th minute for a challenge on Los Angeles counterpart Mike Magee outside the Whitecaps’ penalty area.
Vancouver (2-2-1) is now unbeaten in three straight, while Los Angeles (2-1-1) picked up its first road point of the season.
After an emotionally charged opening 45 minutes that included Laba’s dismissal, the Whitecaps sat back after halftime down a man, content to soak up pressure and try to hit the visitors on the counter attack.
Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted made a stunning desperation save off a deflected shot from substitute Gyasi Zardes in the 70th minute to keep things level.
Alan Gordon, another Galaxy sub, then had an opportunity to win it in stoppage time only to have his header off a corner flash wide.
A testy first half included action at both ends, two injuries, two yellow cards and Laba’s straight red.
Los Angeles defender Jelle Van Damme had a great chance in the 12th minute, but his shot after the ball fell to him off a free kick hit the side netting.
Daniel Steres, the Galaxy’s other center back, was then shown a yellow card 5 minutes later for holding back Whitecaps striker Octavio Rivero on a sequence when Vancouver captain Pedro Morales subbed off for Andrew Jacobson because of a left hip injury.
Morales leads Major League Soccer with four goals on the season, all of which have come from the penalty spot.
Van Damme shoulder checked Nicolas Mezquida to the ground in the 24th minute to earn a yellow before Laba was sent off, which had the Whitecaps and the crowd at B.C. Place Stadium seething.
Minus stars Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane and Giovani dos Santos because of injury, the Galaxy didn’t really threaten until striker Sebastian Lletget had his glancing header stopped by Ousted in the 34th minute.
There was more bad news for the Whitecaps in the 43rd when wing Kekuta Manneh went down with what looked like an ankle problem and had to be subbed out for Christian Bolanos.
Vancouver was in pretty good shape and had an opportunity to grab an unlikely lead just before halftime when Jacobson’s stinging shot from 30 yards out was stopped by a diving Brian Rowe in the Galaxy goal.
Kendall Waston (Costa Rica) and Tim Parker (U.S. under-23) returned to the heart of Vancouver’s defense after missing out last week while away on international duty. Jacobson, normally a midfielder, and Pah-Modou Kah started in that 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo, the Whitecaps’ first home victory and clean sheet of the season.
Vancouver also had Bolanos (Costa Rica) and striker Blas Perez (Panama) back after games with their national teams.
The Whitecaps were minus striker Masato Kudo, who was suspended one game for embellishment on the play that led to Morales’ first-half penalty.
While Gerrard (calf), Keane (arthroscopic knee surgery) and dos Santos (left leg) sat out for Los Angeles, the Galaxy’s lineup still featured midfielder Nigel de Jong and defender Ashley Cole.
The Whitecaps opened most of the lower bowl for the game, increasing capacity from 22,120 to 27,837. Attendance was announced at 27,038.