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Whitecaps FC-Galaxy Preview
By KATE HEDLIN
(AP) -- After a disastrous seven-game stretch, the Los Angeles Galaxy find themselves with a little momentum.
They hope it leads to their first three-game winning streak of the season Saturday night when they host the Vancouver Whitecaps, who are riding a five-game unbeaten run.
While Los Angeles has won its last two, it still finds itself in seventh place in the Western Conference. The Galaxy (5-8-2) suffered through an 0-5-2 slide from April 28-May 26.
Los Angeles snapped that skid with a 1-0 win over Portland on Sunday, then rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat conference-leading Real Salt Lake 3-2 on Wednesday behind two goals from Landon Donovan.
"We're not going to get carried away over two wins now," said Donovan, the team leader with four goals. "We've had a really poor start to the season so we've got a lot of ground to make up. ... We need to do our part to keep winning games and worry about everything else later."
Los Angeles could also get a boost from Robbie Keane, who may be back in the lineup after playing for Ireland in the Euro 2012. Keane, who missed the Galaxy's last seven games, is second on the team with three goals.
While defending Los Angeles' star-heavy lineup will be a challenge, the Whitecaps look forward to facing a Galaxy team that could be at full strength.
"We're playing against world-class players," midfielder John Thorrington said. "That's a good test for us."
The Whitecaps will open a five-game stretch of road games looking to extend a 2-0-3 streak. Vancouver (7-3-5) has been sparked in that stretch by Joe Cannon, who has allowed five goals in the five matches.
He faced six shots in a 1-all draw with New York on Wednesday, though he allowed the tying score in the 86th minute.
"It was one of those games where when you lose a late goal it feels like a defeat," coach Martin Rennie said. "It's something that we have to learn from."
Rennie's squad doesn't have much time to lament missed opportunities because of the quick turnaround. Vancouver's first three games on this road stretch are against conference rivals.
The Whitecaps have managed five goals in going 2-2-2 away from home this year. Cannon has three shutouts on the road, but has also allowed three or more goals in two road games.
Vancouver could get an offensive boost from the return of Darren Mattocks from a one-game suspension. Mattocks is tied for second on the team with three goals - all in his last three games.
The Whitecaps will be looking for better results against the Galaxy than they had last season, as they lost 4-0 on July 30 and 3-0 on Sept. 17.
Cannon was in goal for both games, while Joe Saunders started each for Los Angeles.
Saunders has been in net the last two contests after missing the previous seven while taking part in the league's substance abuse and behavior health program. The Galaxy are 5-3-0 when he starts.
Updated June 22, 2012