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Gyasi Zardes nets game-winner as Galaxy defeat Whitecaps

Gyasi Zardes

LA Galaxy came back from a goal down to defeat the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 at the StubHub Center on Saturday night.

Vancouver took an early lead through Camilo Sanvezzo but the Galaxy got goals from Jose Villarreal and Gyasi Zardes to hand Los Angeles all three points and 3rd place in the Western Conference.

Sanvezzo got things started in the 19th minute when Lee Young-Pyo pinged a diagonal ball from the right side of midfield through the middle. Russell Teibert knicked the ball on with his head and it split the Galaxy defense. Sanvezzo latched onto it with a full head of steam and cooly slotted home to the far post past Galaxy goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini.

For Sanvezzo, it was his 10th goal in eight matches, taking his MLS leading total to 13 goals on the season.

Ten minutes later and the Galaxy had their equalizer. Juninho stepped up to a free kick 35 yards out on the left side of the pitch and curled in a beautiful ball that Omar Gonzalez rose high to redirect for Villareal to dink it home.

Controversy ensued as linesman Jeremy Hanson initially flagged LA for offside, believing Zardes had headed it to Villareal. If Zardes had touched the ball, it would have been offsides but referee Chris Penso confirmed that no touch was made, and Villareal had his second goal of the season.

Twelve minutes into the second half and Zardes gave the Galaxy what would be the game-winning goal. The Cal State Bakersfield product chased down a Todd Dunivant long ball on the left byline. As Brad Rusin rushed in to close Zardes down the 21 year old cheekily flicked the ball to one side of Rusin and ran around the other side before ripping a low shot past Brad Knighton.

It was Zardes third goal of the season and his first with his feet.

With the victory the Galaxy leap-frog the Whitecaps into 3rd place in the Western Conference. Next up for Bruce Arena’s men is a July 27th away match against the Colorado Rapids while Vancouver returns home for a date with the Philadelphia Union.