Carson, Calif. • Mike Magee scored the tying goal in the 69th minute and Landon Donovan converted a penalty kick four minutes later, leading the Los Angeles Galaxy to a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps in a knockout playoff game Thursday night.
The defending MLS champion Galaxy endured a tense hour of play after Darren Mattocks scored in the fourth minute for fifth-seeded Vancouver, which had won just three of its past 17 matches.
Los Angeles' stars finally came through. David Beckham's corner kick helped set up Magee's goal, and Donovan drew a penalty with a strong run to earn the go-ahead goal, the record 21st of his MLS playoff career.
The Galaxy advanced to a two-game Western Conference semifinal series against San Jose, which won the Supporters' Shield as MLS' best regular-season team.
The Earthquakes visit Home Depot Center on Sunday night.
Brad Knighton made several impressive stops in goal for the Whitecaps, who nearly pulled off a stunner after skidding into the playoffs. Vancouver still became the first Canadian MLS team to reach the postseason in just the franchise's second MLS season.
The Galaxy lined up without experienced right back Sean Franklin, who was thought to be healthy despite leaving their last match with tightness in his left hamstring. Midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson also had to sit out with a right leg injury, Los Angeles announced moments before the game.
Vancouver capitalized on Franklin's absence almost immediately when Matt Watson outfoxed replacement Hector Jimenez for a clear run down the sideline. Watson then passed to Mattocks, who beat Tommy Meyer in front and banged a bouncing shot off the far side of the net.