2012 MLS playoffs: LA Galaxy must utilize offense, depth to beat Vancouver

Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

The LA Galaxy have had success against Vancouver in the past, but they will need to be sharp on Thursday to advance past the knockout round.

While the LA Galaxy have gone 4-0-1 against Vancouver Whitecaps FC over the last two seasons, Thursday's knockout round match is far from a sure thing.

The Whitecaps play a very muddled style, attempting to clog the center of the pitch and eventually wear teams down. They've had success doing that this season, including against the Galaxy. As Josie Becker of LAG Confidential noted, the Galaxy completed just one key pass inside the penalty area in their last match against Vancouver.

Vancouver stuffs the box with defenders, hoping the longer the game remains scoreless, the better chance it has to pull out a late victory. This is an especially frustrating style of play for a team like the Galaxy, who have plenty off offensive weapons.

Instead, LA will have to be crisp on offense and as Becker wrote, players like Landon Donovan and Christian Wilhelmsson will need to play well to help clear out the box. Depth could also be on the Galaxy's side as they can utilize fresh legs late in the game from players like Marcelo Sarvas.

Depth will be a major factor throughout the MLS Cup playoffs, as teams will be forced to go to the bench due to quick turnarounds and playing three matches per week.

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