Whitecaps' Jordan Harvey attempts to defend against Galaxy's Hector Jimenez

Preview: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

Stats favour defending champs ahead of the match

Stefan Anderson and Carlo Campo preview Vancouver’s playoff encounter against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Thursday night marks the first time that a Canadian club will see postseason action in Major League Soccer.

The Whitecaps will travel to the Home Depot Centre for a one-off against the Los Angeles Galaxy to determine who reaches the quarterfinals of the 2012 MLS Cup.

Here’s are some stats heading into Thursday’s big match:

Vancouver’s 2012 season

In only the second season where the MLS playoffs have featured five teams from each conference, the Whitecaps locked up the fifth spot on November 21 to ensure playoff action.

Needing only a win against Portland at home, Vancouver fell 1-0. But luckily, a 3-1 win later that night from the Seattle Sounders over F.C. Dallas eliminated the Texan club from the 2012 MLS Cup and gifted the final playoff slot to the Whitecaps.

Vancouver finished the year 11-13-10 with 43 points, a total that would have placed the club eight overall in the Eastern Conference.

It’s worth pointing out that no team has entered the playoffs with fewer points since Real Salt Lake qualified with only 40 in 2009. However, the regular season had only 30 games at the time compared to 34 matches that each team played in 2012.

Vancouver was abysmal in its last 10 matches earning one win, three draws, and six losses. That included a five-game losing skid where they were shut out by the opposition on four occasions and were outscored 9-1.

To continue with the streak of ugly stats, the Whitecaps are also the only team entering the post-season with a negative goal differential (-6) and only two other MLS team scored fewer goals throughout the season.

And to draw a comparison, the San Jose Earthquakes finished the year with 72 goals compared to Vancouver’s lowly 35.

Los Angeles’ 2012 season

Defending champions L.A. Galaxy qualified for their fourth consecutive post-season appearance thanks to an explosive offence.

The Galaxy ended the year with a 16-12-6 record and, despite only finishing one spot ahead of Vancouver in the Western Conference, accumulated 13 more points than the Canadian club.

L.A. tallied 57 goals during the regular season, a number only surpassed by their California rivals the Earthquakes.

In stark contrast to Vancouver, the Galaxy also have a wealth of offensive prowess in Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, David Beckham, and Juninho. The four players combined for 38 goals during the season, three more than the Whitecaps’ entire squad scored all year.

Los Angeles also enter the playoffs on a hot streak with a 6-1-3 record in their final 10 matches including four clean sheets.

Head-to-head

  • L.A are 2-1-0 against Vancouver this season
  • L.A. outscored Vancouver 7-2 in those three matches
  • Vancouver failed to scored a single goal at the Home Depot Centre