CARSON -- Sept. 17 might mean something special to Mike Magee, if only he would allow it to. He has played twice on the date in his Major League Soccer career, and both times he found the net twice.
He scored from Robbie Keane's feed just before halftime, then headed home a Bryan Jordan cross to finish off the Galaxy's 3-0 triumph Saturday night over the Vancouver Whitecaps, a victory that pushed L.A. closer to its second successive Supporters' Shield and within two clean sheets of the league's shutout mark.
Six years ago, Magee tallied twice as New York overcame New England, 5-4.
His memories of that one: “Nothing. I remember my whole L.A. career -- that's it. The L.A. goals. That's it. That's all that matters.”
Both his goals mattered plenty Saturday night, as the Galaxy (16-3-10) withstood an early onslaught from the 'Caps' skilled attackers, took command with Magee's strike in the 40th minute, then pulled away with two late goals, wide-open headers by Keane in the 64th minute and Magee in the 75th from Jordan's crosses.
“That's not a 3-0 game,” head coach Bruce Arena said. “I think Vancouver is one of the teams I've recognized over the last couple of months that has really improved. ... I'm pleased by our players' efforts tonight. Obviously, a pretty full week we've just experienced, and we're going to be experiencing full weeks for a little bit now.”
The Galaxy bounced back nicely from Tuesday's disappointing defeat at Morelia and now face another CONCACAF Champions League trip, to Costa Rica for Wednesday's showdown with Alajuelense.
The shutout was L.A.'s 15th of the season, just two off the record set by the Kansas City Wizards en route to the 2000 MLS Cup title, and it required two big saves from goalkeeper Josh Saunders, in fine form after struggling at the end of the Morelia match, in which mistakes enabled the Monarcas to turn a deficit into a 2-1 victory in the final 10 minutes.
“I was really happy for [Saunders], because he's been great this year, and I know he felt really bad about the other day,” Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said. “I thought he was really sharp.”
A quick look at the Galaxy's victory:
BEST PLAYER: Keane was very good, terrifically setting up Magee's first goal, scoring his second league goal (and third of the week, although one was called back in Mexico), and working nice combinations with David Beckham and Paolo Cardozo. Best of all was his off-the-ball movement, and that paid off for Magee, who credited his second goal to the Irishman.
“[Vancouver's defenders] all went with Robbie,” Magee said. “Once again, he's helping me out.”
Keane seems to have found his footing quickly with the Galaxy, although he's still dealing with fitness issues.
“It's like any team,” he said. “When you step into a group and you're winning games and your scoring goals, it makes things a lot easier. That's been the case since I've been here.”
Said Donovan: “I think we're starting to figure him out more. The reality is becoming very clear that if you get the ball to him in good spots in front of the goal, he's going to make plays. Not only scoring goals, but his cross to Mike was great, and he did a number of good things tonight.”
BEST GOAL: The first one was the sweetest. With the first half winding down, Beckham played a ball to Keane to the left and above the Vancouver box. Keane took it into the box, then played a quick pass to Magee, making a run to the near post above the six-yard box. Magee finished first-time with his left foot, firing inside the near post, and L.A. was in command.
“Once we got that first goal,” Beckham said, “we knew it was going to set us up for the rest of the game.” It did.
The other two were simple finishes. Keane was left alone in front of the goal to nod home Jordan's cross, and Magee wasn't followed on his run before heading inside the far post from 12 yards.
“Robbie gave me a pretty easy goal on the first one ...,” Magee said. “[The second] one was lucky. I just tried to head it as hard as I can, and it bounced in.”
BIGGEST STRUGGLE: So the Galaxy wasn't at its best. No problem. They absorbed early pressure, used long balls to try to open up space behind the Whitecaps' backline, then played with patience, going ahead after a Vancouver giveaway, then taking advantage of some lax defending for the last two goals.
Jordan provided superb crosses on both of the second-half goals, after he got a lecture from teammates.
“I thought in the first half he played tentative,” Donovan said. “[Last week] against Colorado, he was great, because he was aggressive, and he went forward, and everything he did was assertive. And in the first half [tonight]. I thought he was passive, and a few of us let him know that said said, 'Be aggressive, take chances. It's difficult to defend when you're aggressive.'
“So he did a good job of getting into the attack, and his final pass, his final decision, was great.”
WORTH NOTING: Arena overtook Bob Bradley as MLS's second-winningest coach, notching his 125th regular-season victory. No. 1 is former Galaxy boss Sigi Schmid, who won his 153rd with Seattle's 3-0 romp Saturday over D.C. United. ... Arena's record: 125-72-40. Bradley is 124-94-54; Schmid is 152-109-83. ... No. 1 Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was scratched after leaving practice early Friday with tightness in his right quad. ... Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon, who spent a season in L.A.'s nets, became the 16th player in league history to play in 300 league games, and just the second goalkeeper. Former Galaxy star Kevin Hartman, the first goalkeeper to hit that number, is the league's all-time appearances leader, with 382. ... The Whitecaps (4-14-10) were unhappy that referee Michael Kennedy declined to award penalty kicks when Camilo went down in L.A's box in each half. The first was a nice take-away by Jordan; the second, against A.J. DeLaGarza, was a dive.
FINAL JUDGMENT: “It's good to win. It's good to win convincingly,” Donovan said. “I don't think we were perfect by any means, but we made the plays we needed to make to win the game. ... [Vancouver is] a good team, man. They're maybe a little naïve, and I think they would admit their marking wasn't the best tonight, but they move the ball and their guys in attack are dangerous, and out back four did a really good job and Josh [Saunders, the goalkeeper] did a really good job of dealing with them.”
NEXT: Wednesday in a CONCACAF Champions League game at Alajuelense (Costa Rica), 7 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel). Next league game: Saturday, Sept. 24, at Columbus, 4:30 p.m. (Fox Sports West).
Home Depot Center (Carson)
Galaxy 3, Vancouver Whitecaps 0
LA -- Mike Magee (Robbie Keane, David Beckham 40
LA -- Robbie Keane (Bryan Jordan) 64
LA -- Mike Magee (Bryan Jordan) 75
Galaxy: Josh Saunders; Bryan Jordan, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant; Mike Magee, David Beckham (Dan Keat, 78), Chris Birchall, Landon Donovan (Michael Stephens, 78); Paolo Cardozo; Robbie Keane (Miguel Lopez, 84). Unused subs: Chad Barrett, Adam Cristman, Frankie Hejduk, Brian Perk.
Vancouver Whitecaps: Joe Cannon; Jonathan Leathers, Jay DeMerit, Alain Rochat, Jordan Harvey; Gershon Koffie (Jeb Brovsky, 76), Peter Vagenas; Shea Salinas, David Chiumiento (Long Tan, 64); Eric Hassli (Mustapha Jarju, 73).
Yellow cards: Rochat 17, Koffie 28, Hassli 62.
Referee: Michael Kennedy. Att.: 22,959.