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Galaxy-Whitecaps FC Preview
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
(AP) -- David Beckham is playing in Vancouver for the first time. The home team may be more concerned about his Los Angeles teammates Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Mike Magee.
That trio has accounted for eight goals and three assists in three previous meetings with the Whitecaps, who are short-handed heading into Wednesday night's contest with the Galaxy.
Los Angeles (8-10-2) has outscored Vancouver 10-0 in winning the three prior matchups. The Galaxy won 4-0 in their lone visit July 30, 2011, as Donovan scored twice and added an assist with Beckham suspended due to yellow-card accumulation.
Magee scored twice and Keane added a goal and an assist in a 3-0 victory Sept. 17. The score was the same June 23 when Keane and Magee scored while Donovan had a goal and an assist.
Magee, who has missed the last two games with a shin problem, is questionable Wednesday.
Los Angeles currently owns the fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, four points behind fourth-place Vancouver (8-6-6).
The Galaxy are seeking to cap a perfect three-game road stretch after Saturday's 5-3 victory over Portland. Beckham scored two goals in an MLS game for the first time since May 3, 2008, and Keane also struck twice.
"I was happy with it, but I'm more happy with the team's performance tonight because I think we showed our character," said Beckham, who has never scored against Vancouver. "I think we showed that when we pass the ball around we can go through teams."
The Whitecaps will play at home for the first time since June 20. They are 5-1-3 at BC Place, where they have four of their next five games.
"I look forward to the next few games at home and getting back in front of the Whitecaps fans," coach Martin Rennie said. "One of the things I said at the start of the season I talked about, I wanted to make sure we were a team fans can be proud of and absolutely we have a group of guys who will work until the very end no matter what the situation."
Vancouver completed a 1-3-1 road stretch with Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Chicago.
Forward Eric Hassli sprained his ankle late in that game and is not available Wednesday. Defender Alain Rochat drew his fifth yellow card and is suspended.
Darren Mattocks, who has a team-high six goals, has started the last two matches over Hassli and figures to be in the lineup again.
Midfielder Dane Richards played the entire second half Saturday in his Vancouver debut one day after he was acquired along with allocation money from New York for forward Sebastien Le Toux.
The Whitecaps added Designated Player Kenny Miller on Monday, but the Scotland national team captain is not yet available.
Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez could return after sitting out the last two games due to knee problems that have limited him to one contest in 2012. He took part in practice Monday.
"I felt good," Gonzalez told the Galaxy's official website. "My knee is feeling better and I'm feeling strong out there, like normal."
Updated July 17, 2012