INDIO, CALIFORNIA – Vancouver Whitecaps FC claimed their first win of 2023 as they defeated Canadian rivals Toronto FC by a score of 3-0 in their third preseason friendly of the 2023 Coachella Valley Invitational at Emipre Polo Club in Indio, California.
Toronto FC would get the first opportunity of the match in the eighth minute, as Canadian international Richie Laryea sent a shot from a tight angle wide of the far post.
Shortly after, it was the 'Caps turn to get on the offensive. After some intricate build-up play in the middle of the park, Ryan Gauld found Alessandro Schöpf, who squared the ball into Julian Gressel but saw his shot from distance blocked and out for a 'Caps corner.
Gauld had a chance of his own to open the scoring a couple minutes later after some quick passing in the final third with Brian White.
The fast-paced start to the game would continue in the 18th minute, with Tristan Blackmon clearing a shot from Federico Bernardeschi off the line and out to keep the match scoreless.
In the 31st minute, Ryan Raposo won a free kick on the left side of the box. Pedro Vite whipped in the ensuing cross into White, who saw his effort go over the bar.
Nine minutes later, Toronto were awarded a penalty kick. Bernardeschi stepped up to take it but 'Caps goalkeeper Isaac Boehmer dove to his left to deny the Italian, keeping the score locked at 0-0 heading into the halftime interval.
The Blue and White came out of the break continuing to press, as Dájome squared the ball back for Gauld, who once again almost found the net for the first goal of the match.
In the 66th minute, the 'Caps were rewarded for their efforts. Substitute Simon Becher found Dájome in the box, who's shot was saved by TFC goalkeeper Tómas Romero but was deflected towards the right side of the box. Dájome chased after the ball and was fouled a Toronto defender, winning a penalty kick for the 'Caps.
Dájome himself stepped up and slotted his strike to the right side of the goal, giving Vancouver the 1-0 lead.
In the 75th minute, the 'Caps would double their lead, with Javain Brown heading in the rebound off a Luís Martins free kick that struck the post.
Two minutes later, Brown played a long ball to Becher, who headed it into the path of Dájome. The Colombian was sent through one on one with Romero and calmly tucked in his second of the match to make it 3-0.
In the end, the 'Caps would see out the rest of the match to claim the win.
The team will now prepare for a double matchday in the Invitational on Sunday, February 12. The first clash will see the 'Caps face expansion side St. Louis CITY SC, with kickoff at 12:30 p.m. PT, while the second match will be against USL Championship outfit Las Vegas Lights FC, with kickoff at 3:30 p.m. PT. Both matches will take place at Empire Polo Club. Updates will be available on Whitecaps FC social media channels.
67' – VAN – Cristian Dájome (penalty kick)
75' – VAN – Javain Brown
77' – VAN – Cristian Dájome (Simon Becher, Javain Brown)
34’ – VAN – Andrés Cubas
61' – TOR – Shane O'Neill
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
60.Isaac Boehmer (50.Max Anchor 81'); 2.Mathías Laborda (23.Javain Brown HT), 4.Ranko Veselinović (12.Karifa Yao 64'), 6.Tristan Blackmon (61.Matteo Campagna 75'), 27.Ryan Raposo (14.Luís Martins HT); 19.Julian Gressel (30.Kamron Habibullah 64'), 20.Andrés Cubas (16.Sebastian Berhalter 64'), 18.Alessandro Schöpf (31.Russell Teibert HT); 45.Pedro Vite (11.Cristian Dájome HT), 25.Ryan Gauld © (22.Ali Ahmed 64'); 24.Brian White (29.Simon Becher 64')