Galaxy coach Bruce Arena asked a few should-be starters (plus one not so certain and a definite reserve) to go the distance for the first time since the preseason games began, and the payoff was an emphatic victory, his team's first win against MLS opposition.
Rookie Paolo Cardozo was at the heart of both goals, by Chris Birchall in the 26th minute and Juan Pablo Angel in the 44th, in a 2-0 victory Monday afternoon over the Vancouver Whitecaps at Arizona State University's soccer stadium. The teams meet again Tuesday morning.
Birchall, who has had a fine start to preseason, nearly netted a hat trick, but Jay Nolly made a save late and an 82nd-minute shot caromed off the post. The midfielder was among six players to play the full 90 for L.A.
The others included first-choice goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, defender Omar Gonzalez and captain Landon Donovan, who lined up next to Angel up top. A.J. DeLaGarza, at right back, and reserve midfielder Jovan Kirovski, deepest in the middle, also played the full 90.
Gregg Berhalter partnered Gonzalez in central defense, Frankie Hejduk was at left back, and Birchall and Juninho were wide in an unbalanced midfield that positioned Cardozo right behind the front two.
The 21-year-old Uruguayan, by way of Argentina's Quilmes AC, has been the closest thing to a breakout star in Galaxy camp, playing with flair and attacking savvy that has led to two goals and a couple of assists. His through ball set up Birchall's team-best third goal of preseason, and Angel knocked home the rebound when Juninho's shot from another Cardozo feed was knocked down by Nolly.
WORTH NOTING: David Beckham trained for the final time with Tottenham, then treated the team to pie and mash -- an East End staple. Spurs manager Harry Redknapp told media he'd consider bringing back Beckham when his contract with the Galaxy ends after this MLS season. “He's welcome here any time,” Redknapp said. “I'd have liked to have signed him, as he would have brought something here. But who knows in the future? It's not impossible. He can still play, still pick a pass like no one else. I would take him. He still has something to offer.” ... Jack McBean came off the bench again as the U.S. under-17 national team won its group at the CONCACAF championship. A quarterfinal victory Tuesday over El Salvador will send the Americans to the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which begins in June in Mexico. … McBean's high school team, from Corona del Mar in Newport Beach, is in the CIF Southern Section playoffs, home Wednesday in a Division 3 second-rounder against Santa Ana Valley. The Sea Kings won CIF sectional and regional titles last year. … Former Galaxy midfielder Josh Gardner, who spent the past four seasons in second-division leagies, signed Monday with Columbus.
Galaxy: Donovan Ricketts; A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Gregg Berhalter (Leonardo, 80), Frankie Hejduk (Todd Dunivant, 78); Chris Birchall, Jovan Kirovski, Juninho (Miguel Lopez, 72). Paolo Cardozo (Michael Stephens, 72); Landon Donovan, Juan Pablo Angel (Bryan Jordan, 84).
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: Jay Nolly; Alain Rochat, Jay DeMerit (Bilal Duckett, 72), Michael Boxall, Jonathan Leathers (Wes Knight, 46); Nizar Khalfan (Russell Teibert, 72), Terry Dunfield, John Thorrington (Jeb Brovsky, 72), Shea Salinas (Cornelius Stewart, 84); Davide Chiumiento (Atiba Harris, 58), Camilo (Long Tan, 58).
GALAXY 2011 PRESEASON (3-1-2)
Feb. 4 vs. Loyola Marymount at HDC: W 7-1 (goals by Birchall 2, Angel, Berhalter, Juninho, Kirovski, Cardozo)
Feb. 8 vs. Portland Timbers at HDC: T 1-1 (Cardozo)
Feb. 10 vs. San Jose Earthquakes at HDC: T 1-1 (Magee)
Feb. 16: vs. Colorado Rapids at Tempe, Ariz.: L 2-4 (Donovan, Cristman)
Feb. 18: vs. U.S. U-18s at Tempe, Ariz. (50 mins.): W 1-0 (Magee)
Feb. 21: vs. Vancouver Whitecaps at Tempe, Ariz.: W 2-0 (Birchall, Angel)
Feb. 22: vs. Vancouver Whitecaps at Tempe, Ariz.
March 2: vs. Club Tijuana at University of San Diego
March 9: vs. UCLA at HDC