Two early goals proved insurmountable as the Vancouver Whitecaps tried to extend their longest unbeaten streak of the season.
Landon Donovan and Marcelo Sarvas scored in the first 32 minutes to give the Los Angeles Galaxy a 2-0 victory Saturday night in front of 21,637 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
The Whitecaps (7-5-12), whose six-game undefeated stretch ended, remain only two points ahead of the Portland Timbers and three in front of the Colorado Rapids in the quest for fifth place, the final playoff berth in Major League Soccer's Western Conference.
Despite the loss, Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson expressed satisfaction with his team's play.
"From the first goal to the second, we were in control without really hurting them," Robinson said. "When the second goal went in, our heads went down a little bit. But in the second half, I was really proud of the way we performed and the way we tried to have a go [at the Galaxy]."
Donovan, the all-time leading scorer for both MLS and the United States' national team, scored the first goal in the fourth minute.
After Robbie Keane's side-winding half-volley bounced past three players, including two Whitecaps defenders, a sliding Donovan converted a left-footed shot from four yards over lunging goalkeeper David Ousted at the left-wing post.
That goal ended the Whitecaps' streak of 325 consecutive shutout minutes.
Donovan and Keane became involved with Sarvas's goal in the 32nd minute. After receiving Donovan's pass in the penalty area, Sarvas back-heeled the ball to Keane, who lost control while trying to transfer it to his left foot.
But the ball rolled to Sarvas, who scored on a 10-yard diagonal shot inside the far post on the right-wing side.
The Galaxy (11-5-7) took the early lead despite playing its third game in eight days, including Wednesday night in Colorado.
"After the second goal, we dropped off," Whitecaps defender Jordan Harvey said. "It almost seemed like we were the team that played on Wednesday."
Vancouver's two best scoring chances came in the second half. In the 55th minute, Kekuta Manneh finished a box-to-box solo run by forcing Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo to dive to the left to stop a 12-yard shot.
Then in the 81st minute, Penedo lunged to his right to deflect Darren Mattocks' 19-yard line drive with his right hand.
"I thought we went toe-to-toe with them in the second half," Harvey said. "We created half-chances, but not enough."
Vancouver played with 10 men after defender Johnny Leveron received a red card in the 90th minute for tripping the Galaxy's Alan Gordon from behind. Leveron will be suspended for the Whitecaps' home match Aug. 30 against Portland.
Midfielder Mauro Rosales and defender Kendall Waston made their debuts for the Whitecaps. Rosales, acquired from Chivas USA on Thursday for midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker, replaced Sebastian Fernandez at halftime.
Waston, who joined the Whitecaps on Aug. 14 from Costa Rica's Deportivo Saprissa, came in for Manneh in the 79th minute and received a yellow card in the 87th minute.