Tough call leaves tight tilt right to the final whistle


VANCOUVER, BC – It was a historic night for Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Sunday at BC Place, breaking the club's MLS attendance record with 30,204 fans at BC Place. However, despite a valiant effort and a wild finish, the deciding moment of the match would come from a tough penalty call in the first half to end the 'Caps run in the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs.

It was a energetic start for Whitecaps FC, setting the pace while LAFC pressed high. Brian White got his first look on goal in the eighth minute, flashing a shot just off target in front of the supporters end.

Whitecaps FC would continue to put the pressure on LAFC up until the 24th minute. After slowing down a counterattack, LAFC striker Mario Gonzalez would eventually go to ground, earning a penalty call to the ire of the home crowd. Dénis Bouanga would step up and bury it to take the lead.

LAFC would be denied their second just minutes later, with Yohei Takaoka coming up huge with two saves in quick succession on Timothy Tillman and Bouanga.

White would nearly get the equalizer by putting pressure on former ‘Caps goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau, blocking his clearance up and over the bar.

Richie Laryea would test Crépeau early in the second half, firing right at the LAFC keeper in the opening minutes. Ali Ahmed would then force Crépeau to make another save less than 10 minutes later, heading it towards goal off a Sam Adekugbe cross.

Takaoka would deny Bouanga yet again in the 62nd minute, diving across goal to deny the Gabon international his second. Ahmed would test his luck just a few minutes later, volleying a shot up and over the bar.

Junior Hoilett would be the next ‘Caps player to threaten the LAFC net, blasting an effort wide of the mark.

With minutes remaining, White would get the best chance of the night in the 84th minute, latching onto to a great cross from Ryan Gauld, only to direct into the keeper's hands.

The 'Caps would throw everything at LAFC in the last embers, even going so far as sending Takaoka up for a last-minute corner.

In a crazy sequence that saw a collision at the top of the box with the referee from the 'Caps corner, LAFC thought they had scored on an empty net at the other end right at the death, only for it to be pulled back for an offside.

Deep into stoppage time, Gauld had one more effort on goal, but Crépeau was there to snag the ball as the final whistle blew.


Attendance: 30,204
Referee: Timothy Ford

Scoring Summary
24’ – LAFC – Dénis Bouanga (penalty kick)

Possession: VAN 56.7% - LAFC 43.3%
Shots: VAN 13 - LAFC 8
Shots on Goal: VAN 5 - LAFC 7
Saves: VAN 6 - LAFC 5
Fouls: VAN 10 - LAFC 18
Offsides: VAN 1 - LAFC 1
Corners: VAN 7 - LAFC 9

22’ – VAN – Ranko Veselinović
40’ – LAFC – Mario González
83’ – LAFC – Cristian Olivera
90’+1 – VAN – Alessandro Schöpf
90’+4 – VAN – Sam Adekugbe
90’+4 – VAN – Simon Becher
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
18.Yohei Takaoka; 2.Mathías Laborda (11.Junior Hoilett 67’), 4.Ranko Veselinović, 6.Tristan Blackmon; 7.Richie Laryea (27.Ryan Raposo 56’), 45.Pedro Vite, 20.Andrés Cubas (8.Alessandro Schöpf 81’), 3.Sam Adekugbe; 22.Ali Ahmed (29.Simon Becher 81’), 25.Ryan Gauld ©; 24.Brian White

Substitutes not used
32.Isaac Boehmer, 14.Luís Martins, 16.Sebastian Berhalter, 23.Javain Brown, 31.Russell Teibert

Los Angeles FC
16.Maxime Crépeau, 24.Ryan Hollingshead, 3.Jesús Murillo (14.Giorgio Chiellini 73’), 33.Aaron Long, 12.Diego Palacios; 11.Timothy Tillman (19.Matuesz Bogusz 80’), 6.Ilie Sánchez, 23.Kellyn Acosta; 25.Cristian Olivera (30.Sergi Palencia 86’), 9.Mario González (27.Nathan Ordaz 46’) (10.Carlos Vela 86’), 99.Dénis Bouanga

Substitutes not used
77.John McCarthy, 2.Denil Maldonado, 7.Stipe Buik, 50. Filip Krastev