VANCOUVER, BC – It was a packed BC Place on Saturday as Vancouver Whitecaps FC went toe-to-to with the defending MLS Cup champions Los Angeles FC in an exciting 1-1 draw at BC Place, setting up a rematch in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
LAFC would start the game hot, forcing Yohei Takaoka into a flurry of saves inside the opening five minutes of the game. Whitecaps FC would have to hold firm and withstand the early pressure before settling into the game.
With momentum swinging back to the home side, Ryan Gauld would work his magic. A cross-field ball would find Richie Laryea, who would be taken down in the box for a penalty. Gauld would step up to take it but his effort would be saved by former teammate Maxime Crépeau
Gauld would try his luck once again in the 20th minute, rifling a shot from just outside the box. His effort would force whistle past the post. LAFC would then hit back in the 33rd minute, opening the scoring through the league’s top scorer. Dénis Bouanga would burst through the middle and unleash a venomous shot to the bottom right corner, just past an outstretched Takaoka to give LAFC the lead.
Despite a late surge in the half for Whitecaps FC, the advantage would be with LAFC at the break.
LAFC would follow up their strong start in the first half with another one in the second, coming close to doubling their lead with chances for Mateusz Bogusz and Cristian Olivera. Timothy Tillman would have a near opportunity to score in the 56th minute, slicing his effort at the back post off a corner.
But Whitecaps FC would not be kept out of it, as a fantastic passing sequence between Pedro Vite and Laryea would end up with Laryea finding Ali Ahmed alone in the box. Ahmed would then expertly side-foot-volley the ball into the back of the net to equalize for the ‘Caps.
Whitecaps FC would nearly provide a quick-fire double just minutes later, with a dangerous corner-kick falling into the LAFC box. The ball would bounce around and deflect off of Crépeau’s leg before being cleared outside the box.
The 'Caps had another chance to find a winner when Laryea was once again take down in the box in the 73rd minute. However, it would be twice unlucky as Gauld’s penalty shot would rebound off the underside of the crossbar and out.
LAFC would have a tremendous chance to steal the win in the 90th minute, with Mario González going one-on-one with Takaoka. But the Japanese goalkeeper would come up the victor, putting out a leg to deny the LAFC striker.
With both teams having left it all on the field for the 90 minutes, neither side could find a winner in the end, and the final result would end in a draw.
VWFC GE Appliances Player of Quality: Richie Laryea
Referee: Fotis Bazakos
34’ – LAFC – Dénis Bouanga (Ilie Sánchez)
58’ – VAN – Ali Ahmed (Richie Laryea, Pedro Vite)
Possession: VAN 57.1% - LAFC 42.9%
Shots: VAN 10 - LAFC 12
Shots on Goal: VAN 2 - LAFC 7
Saves: VAN 6 - LAFC 2
Fouls: VAN 14 - LAFC 18
Offsides: VAN 0 - LAFC 0
Corners: VAN 5 - LAFC 6
15’ – LAFC – Steve Cherundolo
43’ – LAFC – Diego Palacios
45’+4 – LAFC – Dénis Bouanga
51’ – LAFC – Timothy Tillman
57’ – LAFC – Mateusz Bogusz
69’ – LAFC – Ilie Sánchez
71’ – VAN – Sam Adekugbe
73’ – LAFC – Giorgio Chiellini
74 ‘ – LAFC – Maxime Crépeau
76’ – VAN – Sebastian Berhalter
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
18.Yohei Takaoka; 23.Javain Brown (14.Luís Martins 67’), 4.Ranko Veselinović, 6.Tristan Blackmon; 16.Sebastian Berhalter; 27.Ryan Raposo (3.Sam Adekugbe 67’), 22.Ali Ahmed (11.Junior Hoilett 79’), 45.Pedro Vite (8.Alessandro Schöpf 80’), 7.Richie Laryea; 24.Brian White (29.Simon Becher 87’), 25.Ryan Gauld ©
Substitutes not used
32.Isaac Boehmer, 2.Mathías Laborda, 26.J.C. Ngando, 28.Levonte Johnson
Los Angeles Football Club
16.Maxime Crépeau; 24.Ryan Hollingshead, 3.Jesús Murillo, 14.Giorgio Chiellini, 12.Diego Palacios (30.Sergi Palencia 78’); 11.Timothy Tillman (50.Filip Krastev 85’), 6.Ilie Sánchez, 19.Mateusz Bogusz (23.Kellyn Acosta 67’); 10.Carlos Vela (27.Nathan Ordaz 85'), 99.Dénis Bouanga, 25.Cristian Olivera (9.Mario González 67’)
Substitutes not used
77.John McCarthy, 2.Denil Maldonado, 7.Stipe Biuk, 33.Aaron Long