LA Galaxy were forced to work hard in their MLS Western Conference play-off clash against Vancouver Whitecaps, but two second-half goals helped David Beckham’s side progress to the semi-finals.
Having finished fourth in their conference at the end of regular season, the Galaxy were forced to play a knockout round against the fifth-placed Canadian outfit.
And it almost proved to be the undoing of last season’s MLS Cup winners, with Darren Mattocks putting the visitors in-front after just 182 seconds at The Home Depot Centre.
Vancouver looked to defend in numbers from that point on, and it was Beckham who went closest to equalising in the first period when Brad Knighton made a smart save from a textbook free-kick.
The second period followed a similar pattern to the first, but the Whitecaps missed their golden opportunity in this half when Matt Watson, Kenny Miller and Barry Robson all failed to find the net in a mad five seconds.
They were made to pay by the Galaxy, who went up the other end almost immediately, won a corner and scored. Beckham played it short to Juninho, and his cross was met on the volley by Mike Magee.
The hosts were now in the ascendency, and when Landon Donovan was bundled over in the box by Bonjour, the USA skipper made no mistake with his 73rd minute penalty.
San Jose Earthquakes now await Beckham and his teammates in the last four of the Western Conference play-offs, and the Galaxy will need to improve if they are to capture the trophy once again this season.
Watch the highlights from last night’s pulsating clash below: