Sports Mole brings you live text commentary from the 2012 MLS playoffs as Los Angeles Galaxy host the Vancouver Whitecaps in a Western Conference knockout clash.
The 2012 MLS playoffs continued on Friday with a knockout tie between defending champions LA Galaxy and the Vancouver Whitecaps at the Home Depot Arena.
Vancouver took a shock lead after three minutes when Darren Mattocks finished off an incisive counter attack. LA were frustrated for long spells before equalising when Mike Magee volleyed home on 69 minutes.
A quick turnaround was completed moments later when Landon Donovan converted a penalty to send Galaxy through to the Western Conference semi-finals.
2.32amGood morning all, its time to load up on caffine as the MLS playoffs come to life on the west coast. 2.33amWe have everything covered as defending champions LA Galaxy enter the business end of their title defence against the Vancouver Whitecaps. 2.35amVancouver are in the post-season picture for the first time and will need to shake a run of no away wins since July to keep Canada's MLS Cup hopes alive. 2.39amLet's get to the starting lineups with around 15 minutes until kickoff over at the Home Depot Centre. Los Angeles GalaxySaunders, Dunivant, Gonzalez, Meyer, Jimenez, Donovan, Juninho, Beckham, Magee, Keane, Buddle Vancouver WhitecapsKnighton, Lee, O'Brien, DeMerit, Harvey, Koffie, Rochat, Thorrington, Watson, Robson, Mattocks 2.43amThe Galaxy are able to call on the considerable international experience of David Beckham and Landon Donovan when it matters most. Both have struggled with injuries towards the close of the regular season but are fit to start this evening. 2.47amVancouver have recalled former Middlesbrough man Barry Robson in a defensive formation. 2.48amThe teams are about to take the field and will play to a finish tonight. That means the possibility of extra time, penalties and shattered sleep patterns all round. 2.49amTonight's winner will advance to two-legged tie against top seed San Jose Earthquakes next week. The pressure is definitely on. 2.50amLandon Donovan and Jay DeMerit lead the teams out, we are moments away from kickoff. 2.53amPlenty of former Premier League stalwarts in the Vancouver defence. DeMerit is joined by Andy O'Brien and Lee Young-Pyo no less. 1 minVancouver get us underway at the Home Depot Centre, this Western Conference knockout game is good to go. 2 minBeckham is quickly on the ball and sprays a 40-yard pass to Mike Magee but his header is well wide. 3 minLA are dominating in the early stages, Vancouver will need to stay resolute to have a chance tonight. GOALThe Whitecaps have stunned LA with an incisive counter attack. Darren Mattocks calmly slots home to give the away side a shock lead. 5 minWith their first shot of the match Vancouver are ahead. An awful start for the Galaxy but a dream start for the Whitecaps in to their first play-off campaign. 6 minJuninho hits one from range and forces a good save from Brad Knighton. Nearly an immediate response from LA. 7 minBuddle puts Andy O'Brien under pressure from a long ball and wins the throw. Juninho works the ball to Beckham but he is closed down well by Barry Robson. 8 minRobbie Keane floats a ball into the penalty area which Knighton claims easily. 9 minVancouver are sitting deep and after that early strike from Mattocks. 11 minLA continue to probe, Beckham teases a trademark cross into the area but Keane is unable to make contact. 13 minKeane exchanges passes with Buddle before the balls spills loose in a dangerous area. The Irish striker is quick to react but his snapshot is deflected wide. 15 minFirst corner for LA and Beckham whips in a cross which fails to beat the first defender. 17 minA water break, yes they do exist in MLS, brings a halt to proceedings. 18 minOmar Gonzalez picks decides to strike from range after he is allowed to run from deep. His shot trickles harmlessly wide. 19 minJimenez crosses after finding space but the ball is cleared by a powerful header from DeMerit. 21 minA free kick taken by Beckham again fails to cause problems to a strong Vancouver defence. 22 minBeckham plays in Keane but his touch lets him down on the edge of the penalty area. 23 minVancouver are happy to let LA keep the ball in midfield and drop deep. The Galaxy are struggling to penetrate in wide areas. 25 minThorrington goes down under a challenge from Tommy Mayer. A late tackle that earns a stern warning from the referee but no yellow card. 26 minKeane drops deep and finds time and space. He works the ball wide to Beckham who wins a corner kick. 27 minKeane is at the heart of the action again, swiveling in the area and unleashing a low strike which forces a strong save from Knighton. 28 minMattocks races away in a rare Vancover attack but the flag is quickly raised for offside. 30 minVancouver enjoy an important spell of possession to give their defence a much-needed breather. 31 minLA eventually regain the ball and work some space for Jimenez out wide but again Galaxy are let down by a poor final pass. 32 minBeckham finds Donovan in the area but his header from 12-yards out is well wide of the target. 33 minKeane continues to come deep in search of the ball, with Edson Buddle cutting a frustrated figure in attack for LA. 35 minBeckham give the ball away with a sloppy pass, a sure sign all is not well at the Home Depot Centre. 37 minBarry Robson picks the ball up for Vancouver but he can only pass to Jordan Harvey in an offside position. 38 minJuninho wins a 50-50 challenge with Robson and finds Buddle out wide. He picks out Donovan in the area who winds a corner. 39 minBeckham's corner finds its way to Donovan but he fails to find the target with an off-balance finish. 41 minAnother corner for Galaxy who are applying serious pressure as the first half draws to a close. 42 minKnighton comes out to punch the corner to safety. An effort from Donovan from at least 35-yards out sails over the crossbar. 43 minDeMerit smashes another Beckham corner clear, he has been immense for Vancouver in this first half. 44 minJuninho picks up the first yellow card for a deliberate handball after losing possession cheaply. 45 minMagee is livid with the referee for awarding a throw to Vancouver. A sign of mounting frustration for Bruce Arena's side. 46 minDonovan wants a penalty after going down under a heavy challenge from O'Brien but the referee waves away his protests. In the ensuing chaos Galaxy win a free kick on the egde of the area. 47 minBeckham lines it up and forces an excellent save from Knighton. Half TimeThere is no time for the goal kick. Beckham and Keane surround the referee, they still feel O'Brien's foul merited a penalty. 3.45amDespite dominating possession and chances in the first half LA trail thanks to counter-punch from Darren Mattocks just three minutes in. 1-0 to Vancouver at the break. 3.46amThe defending champions will need to dig deep in the second half or their season will be over. 3.47amBeckham has been heavily involved in the first half but the quality of set pieces hasn't bee to his usual high standard, particularly from corners. 3.49amLandon Donovan was also absent for much of the opening period. The Galaxy talisman left the flank and looked dangerous as the first half drew to a close. 3.50amVancouver defenders Jay DeMerit and Andy O'Brien were imperious at the back for the first 45 minutes, heading clear anything that moved. 3.51amWhitecaps coach Martin Rennie will need to draw on all of his backline's international experience to maintain this scoreline at full time. 3.53amExpect a wave of LA pressure in the second half. Creating chances is rarely a problem for the Galaxy but patience will be the key. 3.55amGalaxy striker Edson Buddle has struggled to get involved so far, dominated by DeMerit in a series of aerial duels. 3.57amBruce Arena will turn to his experienced players to dig them out of a hole when play resumes in a few minutes. Keane, Donovan and Beckham it's now or never. 45minBuddle and Keane gets the second half underway. 46minLA straight onto the attack as Donovan smashes a low cross into the area. Buddle brings the ball down but O'Brien is there to intercept with a fine block. 47minVancouver break quickly with Thorrington forcing a decent save from Ben Saunders with a long-range strike. 49 minBuddle breaks out wide but he lacks support and the chance is quickly gone. 50 minDonovan is noticeably deeper in the early stages of the second half. Much longer without an equaliser and that will surely not last. 51 minBeckham flicks in Juninho who finds Keane, but his volley is blocked by DeMerit. Galaxy SubArena hasn't waited long to make a change. Marcelo Sarvas is on for Hector Jimenez. 53 minAn early gamble for the Galaxy with Beckham switching to the right flank, allowing Sarvas to bomb on. 54 minA superb long-range strike from Barry Robson moves in the air and requires a strong save from Saunders. 55 minBeckham is foiled again by Knighton as the Vancouver keeper reacts quickly to catch an inviting cross. 56 minA frustrated Beckham boots Barry Robson to give away a needless free kick. 57 minEdson Buddle bursts onto a Keane pass but his shot is blocked. The ball falls to Donovan but his clipped cross evades Keane at the back post. Vancouver SubThe Premier League theme continues as goalscorer Mattocks is replaced by Kenny Miller. 58 minBeckham has switched back into a central position for the time being. His diagonal cross is cleared for Galaxy's eighth corner kick of the night. 59 minAn out-swinging corner is cleared to Mike Magee, who lashes a wayward volley wide of the target. 61 minLA are utterly dominant but continue to struggle to create clear-cut opportunities. 62 minVancouver are 30 minutes away from an unlikely victory. 63 minBeckham's cross is blocked painfully by Jordan Harvey from close range. He stays down and requires treatment. 65 minKenny Miller buys Vancouver some time with a neat breakaway. Barry Robson provides support but they can't force an effort on goal. 66 minBeckham strikes a volley low into the ground but once again Knighton is equal to the shot. 67 minDonovan tries to keep the pressure on but his cross is easily intercepted by Matt Watson. GOALMike Magee punishes Vancouver for missing a chance just seconds earlier by scoring on the break. 1-1 at the Home Depot Centre and its game on. 68minA short corner from Beckham finds its way to Magee unmarked in the penalty area. He guides the ball brilliantly into the net with an angled volley. Vancouver SubA double whammy for Vancouver. Imposing defender Jay DeMerit is forced off after being injured int he build-up to LA's goal. PenaltyJuninho darts into the area and DeMerit's replacement Martin Bonjour fouls Landon Donovan. GOALDonovan gets up to take. He scores high into the net under intense pressure. A quick turnaround and the champions are ahead. 74 minWhat an incredible five minutes at the Home Depot Centre. Vancouver look stunned, they came agonisingly close to going two goals ahead and now find themselves behind. 75 minRelief all round for the Galaxy. Vancouver are livid on the touchline as assistant coach Paul Ritchie is sent to the stands for his protests. 76 minThe Whitecaps have a free kick around 30 yards from goal. Robson delivers but Beckham gets some distance on an effective clearance. 77 minVancouver have got to pick themselves back up, they have 15 minutes to force an equaliser or their post-season adventure will be over quickly. 78 minBeckham finds space in an advanced position, but he fails to pick out Keane. 79 minThorrington bursts into the area for Vancouver and cuts inside before falling down under pressure. Huge protests from the Whitecaps bench but no penalty given. Huge decision goes against the away side. Vancouver SubThe Whitecaps bring on speed demon Dane Richards for Matt Watson. 80 minBeckham swerves a shot from distance just past the far post. Close to a trademark goal that would have ended the match as a contest. 82 minKeane looks to line up a volley but O'Brien smashes clear. No love lost between these two as a heated exchange ensues. Galaxy SubBruce Arena makes a change as Juninho comes off injured. He is replaced by young midfielder Michael Stephens. 84 minBarry Robson floats a cross out of play for Vancouver, chance missed. 85 minKenny Miller finds Thorrington out wide, but his cross fails to beat the full back. 86 minSarvas bursts forward but loses the ball after a breakdown in communication with Beckham. 87 minRobson intercepts the ball and forces a cynical foul from Sarvas, who gets booked for the professional foul. 88 minRobbie Keane does brilliantly to bring the ball down in space but he can't pick out Edson Buddle unmarked in the penalty area. 89 minLA are using their experience to keep the ball away from danger as we drift towards injury time. 90 minThe fourth official signals three minutes of injury time as Miller fouls Gonzales on the halfway line. 91 minBarry Robson crosses into the area but a foul is given against O'Brien, much to the annoyance of the Vancouver bench. 92 minA chance to cross for Rochat but his effort drifts long for a goal kick. 93 minLandon Donovan moves into space but he is called for offisde. Last chance for Vancouver. Full TimeKnighton knocks the ball long but Michael Stephens clears for the last action of the match. 4.49amIts all over, LA Galaxy survive a huge fright to edge Vancouver in a pulsating clash. Mike Magee and Landon Donovan keep the champions alive by the skin of their teeth. 4.50amLA advance to a Western Conference Semi-final against San Jose Earthquakes, with the first leg set for Sunday evening. 4.51amVancouver were agonisingly close to a major shock for long spells and can be proud of their play-off debut despite seeing their season ended late on. 4.53amTime to get some sleep after an entertaining post-season encounter. Thanks for joining us at Sports Mole and be sure to join us throughout November for complete coverage of the 2012 MLS playoffs.